Whether the children are making a transition to the Year 1 class at BISH or moving on to a new school, it can be a huge and sometimes daunting change in their lives. The process of transfer takes time. The intention of the teachers was to help the children to move forward to their new settings with their enthusiasm maintained, their wonder increased and their self-esteem intact. The proposed change brings with it a mixture of emotions and the children expressed some of their excitements and some of their worries.
The children brought up that one of the changes that would happen, would be that they would have new teachers.
What kind of teacher do you need?
I wondered what kind of teacher the children felt they would need as they entered their next educational experience. The role of teacher complements the role of the child as learner. Young children are powerful, active and competent protagonists of their own growth. Children are protagonists in society bearing the right to be listened to and to participate, to be part of the group and take action alongside others on the basis of their own particular experiences and level of consciousness. It is useful to reflect upon what kind of teachers are needed by our children.
“Smiley. A very good hugger.”
“He will be a boy teacher who can work with computers, the other would be a girl teacher who is happy and very nice. I want her happy because I don't like it when people are really mad.“
“He is so clever. He has pictures in his mind. And we have more stuff to learn.”
“A girl. Loves me and I loves her. I want a teacher to be happy. I want a beautiful teacher. With a smiley face. She has a big smile because she loves me.”
“A happy teacher. A boy teacher. He teaches numbers and they are happy because the children always do their homework. The children are happy because he is happy. The teacher will have an iPad.”
“A girl teacher. Mrs L. She wears a green dress because that’s what girls wear. She’s a happy teacher. She wears yellow stockings and purple shoes and purple hair. She must have lots of ideas.”
“I need a boy teacher because I am a boy and I like boys. I like him to have a t-shirt with blue spots and pink buttons and a pink jacket. Happy clothes. I need a happy teacher because happiness is better than sadness and grumpiness. I need a smiley face on the teacher because I like happiness.”
“I need a teacher who likes the rain. And I can play in the rain. I need a happy teacher teacher. I can play games with. And help me to learn new things.”
“I need a happy teacher because happy teachers are not angry. Because I love happies. And smile. I like people when they smile and it makes me smile and feel good. Really kind. I love kind people. They don't tell on people when they don’t do anything wrong. My teacher will help me learn about 3D shapes.”
“A teacher who does multi sports. I love multi sports. I need a teacher who has a heart so that it can pump to be alive. A big smile so he can be happy.”
“I need a teacher that I like. And do multi sports. A man teacher. I like man teachers because they got blue eyes like me.”
“A girl teacher because Ms Doyle’s a girl. They are so nice. They teach us. They speak to us. We have to listen to them and they have to listen to us. I like they have rainbows and flowers. I like rainbows, flowers and hearts.”
“I’m a girl and I want a girl teacher. I need a teacher who grows plants. I love plants. I’ve got some at home. To be nice. Come outside with me. Look after me.”
“I need the best teacher in the whole world. He comes every day and I can tell him lots of things and give him big hugs. He has to listen to what I say. I would like him to smile and give me so much hugs.”
“I need a teacher who likes football like I do. I need a nice teacher. He helps me play all the days. Talks to you and I talk to him.”
A powerful thread that came through the children’s conversations and drawings was the role of the teacher as an attentive listener and a kind supporter of children.
Carlina Rinaldi puts the act of ‘listening’ at the heart of education. She suggests that the teacher must not merely think about children as strong and competent but must act in such a way as to persuade children that they deeply share this image. Listening means being fully attentive to the children and at the same time, taking responsibility for recording and documenting what is observed and using it as a basis for decision making shared with the children. Listening means seeking to follow and enter into active learning taking place. The teacher needs to enter into a kind of intellectual dialogue with the group of children and join in their excitement and curiosity. The teacher seeks to extend the children’s intellectual stamina and attention span; increase their range of investigation strategies; enhance their concentration and effort and still allow them to fully experience pleasure and joy.
As always the perspectives that the children offer us are helpful in developing our practice and understanding of what it means to be a teacher.
I wonder what kind of teacher you would have needed?