My mistake as a first year teacher was to expect that a typical day in the classroom would go smooth without any other distractions or interruptions. I imagined that all the students would sit there quietly and absorb the lessons I presented to them. Boy! Was I wrong! What a rude awakening!
In today’s classroom, a teacher must be multi-dimensional in conducting a classroom. She must be a teacher, counseling and an interpreter. She must be able to teach three lessons at the same time, depending on the school’s approach to educating students.
Gone are the days when teachers could take a one dimensional approach to teaching without any subsidiary lessons, behavior interruptions, communication problems and administrative demands. New teachers quit teaching because they are unprepared to be multi-dimensional. They become burnt out halfway through the first semester. However, if new teachers are trained for this type of reality, they will enter their first year of teaching with confidence in their abilities to handle the various classroom challenges.
The Different Hats of the Multi-Dimensional Teacher
To reach greatness as a teacher, you must wear many hats. First you must be a teacher. You must have an academic vision for each student, an ongoing relationship with parents and a personal teaching philosophy in order to take your students to heights that will empower them for a life of progress and impact in society.
Second, you must be a counselor. I know there is probably a school counselor, but students will spend most of their time with you. When they are down and unmotivated, it is your responsibility to get to the bottom of what is ailing them. A child who is emotionally distraught will sap the excitement out of the learning environment if nothing is done.
Third, you must be an interpreter. Many of your students will come from diverse backgrounds. You may not be able to understand their language at first, but with patient and attentive listening you will grow to understand what they are saying. You may even want to study the basics of several languages in order to better understand the culture of your students.
Fourth, as a teacher, you will have to teach two or three student groups simultaneously. For example, you may have to teach a reading group, while another group works on writing skills and another work on a special project. In addition, you must be able to organize the class in such a way that distractions, interruptions and problems will get resolved without stopping the overall flow of learning. However, have no fear. These are the challenges that make great teachers. Once you get accustomed to this type of teaching it will eventually become second nature.
The Gift of Organization
The best asset of a multi-dimensional teacher is the ability to stay organized. Without this asset chaos and confusion will be the order of the day. Students will be uncertain as to what comes next. As a result, they will be tempted to act out and cause discipline issues. Therefore, teachers must create practical routines that students can independently fall into during the course of the day. For example, students should know what to do and when to do it, whether it is taking out math books at the beginning of the hour, performing Word Sorts during group work or switching classes for WIN time in the middle of the morning. Once students adapt to these routines and patterns, the order of the day will unfold with ease and academic productivity will increase.