When I first began my teaching career in 2013 a good friend reminded me not to underestimate children either telling me, "remember, don't think about all the things they don't know, think about all the things that they DO know." This is a true, and important thing to focus on.
This year as I am in my second year of teaching, with new learners, teaching a new age range, and to learners who are new to being a digital learning environment, so NOT underestimating is more true than ever.
Firstly, never underestimate myself. Yes, I am new(ish) at this game, but I am capable, competent and doing it. Doing it well, most of the time. I think sometimes as a PRT (provisionally registered teacher) we place a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything, perfectly, right now. It's true. I want to be up to date on everything, totally organised and know exactly where my learners are at, where they need to be and how to get them there.
As I completing my student profiles and learning needs today I realised that, no I may not know everything immediately, but I do know how to find out and how to use their assessments and information available. I need to stop underestimating myself as a teacher. And as a learner.
This year, also undertaking my post graduate in education, I need to stop underestimating my ability to study, teach and learn simultaneously. Yes, it is challenging, but not impossible.
Secondly, never underestimate the tamariki. Sure they may be below national standard, or unsure how to do something in particular. They may be shy and quiet. They may be messy and chaotic. But never underestimate a child. This year has shown me this time and time again. Children who impress me with a particular behaviour, an answer, a skill, a performance, a generosity, a deadline, vocabulary, remembering something, a transfer of knowledge.
This is why I became a teacher. To see children flourish and be awesome. As we come to the end of term one, I need to remember that, never underestimate, any of them, for they will live up to my expectations. Today for example, a student who is often known for misbehaving was front row at an inter-school event and was a model citizen, helpful, polite, and caring to others. Another who can play the 'class clown' who impressed in a team building game with skills and sportsmanship. A child who struggles with mathematics, but was able to draw a diagram of the correct solution to a problem. These are the tamariki who this week have reminded me not to underestimate them, or others.
As kaiako I need to remind my students of my high expectations, and foster their trust, respect and cooperation so that they feel willing and able to let their strengths shine.
I believe I am doing this well in a lot of ways - as this weeks impressions have shown - and need to keep not underestimating myself and my ability to teach these amazing and talented ākonga.
This blogpost relates to RTC 7. promote a collaborative, inclusive and supportive learning environment