well here we are again, another session with Antero completed, and my brain is once more buzzing with ideas. Maybe you can tell just from the picture above, but Antero is one of those magical people who just *clicks* with everyone and everything. Though he would never admit to such talent, he always has something thoughtful and helpful to say about a given topic. He’s always personable and friendly, the kind of guy that you want to keep talking to for hours just because you’re enjoying what he’s saying so much. This time we talked about teacher advocacy.
We talked about including cultures in your classroom. The average classroom has students who speak multiple languages, come from different cultural and economic backgrounds, celebrate different holidays, practice different religions, have different learning strengths and weaknesses, and different interests and passions. Antero pointed out that as teachers we have a tendency to take control over our classroom space, and why wouldn’t we? it’s one of the things that most teachers look forward to – getting their own classroom space to decorate and plan out. But the classroom space isn’t just yours, it’s you students too. Antero talked a lot about incorporating elements from different cultures, interests, lifestyles, etc. things that reflect the demographics of your classroom and will make your students feel at home. At the same time, Antero warned us not to be presumptuous or make ignorant statements about other cultures. In fact, he told us not to be afraid of asking our students how they would like to see themselves represented in the classroom. It makes your students feel heard and allows you to incorporate different styles without being offensive.
On the other side of the equation, we talked about teacher advocacy. Teachers are often left out of the advocacy equation, but Antero pointed out, and this is something Cindy has been telling us all year, that teachers are humans too. As much as we need to be aware of, and caring for our students, we also need to be aware of our own health, needs, and abilities. Teacher’s go through tough times too, teachers need support for student death/illnesses, teachers need support for mental illness and phsycological problems, teachers need relaxation time and personal space. I thought that this was really important to remember. Teachers often burnout within a few years of the job, and i personally know that i tend to get obsessively involved in things i’m currently passionate about. It will be really important for me to take a step back and advocate for myself as well as my students. After all, teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.