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Jennifer Odom

Dr, Johnson

Foundations of Education 2121

March 30th, 2006

Teaching Persona Reflection

As a future educator, I constantly contemplate how I will teach my class. I wonder

how I will structure the curriculum, how I will enforce discipline, how I will gain respect

from my students, and how I will make learning fun and interesting. I want to be the kind

of teacher I looked up to most, the teacher that was well liked amongst most students, the

teacher that has well respected throughout the school. I want to have the type class that I

looked forward to going to, the type of class that allows students to feel at ease and enjoy

their environment and subject matter. So how will I obtain all of this? What will I need to

do to become the teacher I want to be?

Although I just recently changed my major to English Education, from

Biology/Pre-Med, my desire to be a teacher has stemmed from several areas of my life.

My Grandmother, a fourth and fifth grade teacher, and lover of literature, taught me many

valuable lessons in life, and I consider her my first and one of the most influential

teachers. Since then, many teachers have left an impact on my life. I looked up to some of

the teachers, and some of them I just enjoyed more than others. Now looking back at

those teachers, I realize that it wasn’t just their personalities that I enjoyed, but rather

their teaching styles.

One of my favorite teachers, Tony Jones, my tenth grade Honors World Literature

teacher, was also one of my toughest. He taught our class as if it were a college class,

beginning each class with a quiz from the assigned readings from the night before,

lecturing from bell to bell, and requiring us to keep a journal and write many essays each

week. His class demanded more time and effort out of me than any other class I was in or

had taken, but the way he made us work for our grade made the class seem worth it. Mr.

Jones was not an easy teacher, in fact, he rarely gave A’s, but by becoming enthralled in

the subject of his class, I was able to earn an A in the end. One thing I especially enjoyed

about his class was the interesting tidbits of knowledge he threw into discussion! Also, on

every quiz, for bonus points, he asked us questions about current events. This technique

kept me constantly seeking out what was going on in the world, and taught me to read the

newspaper on a daily basis.

Another teacher I always enjoyed was my high school choir teacher, “Mrs. A”

short for Mrs. Alexander. I took her class for three years and enjoyed every moment of it.

She was the kind of teacher that you would find hard to dislike. She was very quirky, in a

good way, and had her own unique style of dress. (I don’t think she ever wore the same

outfit twice!) But what made Mrs. A’s class unlike any others was the fact that she let us

run class. Mrs. A had gained so much respect from us that she was able to take a step

back and let us take on responsibility. She let us decide which songs we wanted to sing

for special events, and had student (including myself) create the choreography for our

shows. My senior year, I was elected as secretary of my choir class, which gave me the

opportunity to take roll and answer the phone. These tasks may seem trivial now, but in

high school, being able to call the roll made me feel of some importance. Mrs. A had a
forte for always keeping class exciting. She would use comedy to get us motivated for the

day, and praise to remind us all of our achievements. If you were to go into Mrs. A’s class

upset, you would most likely leave in high spirits.

I would say both of teachers I have mentioned had strong points and

characteristics that I hope to exude one day in my own teaching experience. From

observing my field teacher, Mrs. Wingate, an eleventh grade American Literature teacher

at Effingham County High School, I have been able to pick up on some ideas I want to

use, and some I do not. Mrs. Wingate dedicates one whole day to vocabulary a week,

which in my opinion is boring and repetitive, but I know why she does this. Most of her

students are taking or will soon take the SAT and without continuous drilling of

vocabulary words, students will not score as high. Sitting in her class, I am able to think

back on other experiences I have had in class and what I liked and what I did not like,

making notes for future references.

Also, from watching movies in class, I have developed an idea of the type teacher

I will most likely be. In Dangerous Minds, Louanne Johnson dared to defy rules set by

her school. Bending the rules, enduring tragedies and solving life’s problems did

something for the students no other teacher had been able to manage yet, Ms. Johnson

was able to teach them, and change their lives. She used techniques such as involving her

experience in the marines and incentives such as candy and field trips, which I feel might

have helped her, and in my first year of teaching I will probably end up following some

of her ideas so that I too can have some sort of an affect on my students. I feel that having

a gimmick (teaching her students marine fighting techniques) helped Ms. Johnson to

connect with her students and keep them interested. One of my high school teachers had a
gimmick that always kept us attentive in class as well. Mr. Andrews, a civics teacher, kept

a tally on the board for the number of flies he was able to swat and kill per classroom. It

ended up being this huge competition, and although it is not the most pleasant thing to

think about, it was definitely interesting and kept us all awake. Even Jaime Escalante in

Stand and Deliver used a sort of gimmick for teaching his class by using real life

examples the students could relate to. I liked how both Jaime and Louanne were able to

connect to their students and as a teacher I hope I will be able to do the same.

Thinking over all of the examples of teaching styles I have given, I realize that I

will fall more into the constructivist paradigm, than that of transmissionist, liberatory

and/or post-liberatory. I want my classroom to be a student centered environment, desks

in groups to allow for collaboration and discussion, group projects to encourage

teamwork and leadership, and reading aloud to not only get the point across, but to

develop the student’s communication skills. I think that by grouping desks, the

transmissionist paradigm can be overruled as a form of my teaching style. I do believe

that some class days will be spent lecturing in the front of the class, however, I hope to

always allow for discussion, and sometimes debate. I would love to be able to integrate

technology into my teaching by using power point presentations and having review

sessions such as “Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” using electronic

devices. I want to teach by using group activities as reinforcements of the subject matter.

I would even love to keep the parents informed by emailing them on occasion or having a

personal website that is constantly updated. I also want to be the teacher that students feel

they can talk with about their problems. I know that the first thing I need to do is to gain
respect from my students, so hopefully by implementing the constructivist views I agree

with, I will be successful.