In classrooms across the country young, impressionable eighth grade students sit in desks, staring back at their teachers with vacant expressions and weary attitudes. Eventually, one frustrated student shouts out, “Why do we have to learn this?”
The College of Education at Niagara University prepared me for just this moment. A person once said, “the best offense is a good defense,” and the preparation I received at Niagara University was just that. The professors at NU taught me how to create engaging, diverse and captivating lessons that prevent my students from asking me that question…at least not all the time, the eighth grade is a tough audience.
Professors taught me it is more than just your content; it is about teaching them to be productive, responsible and respectful people. Allow them to make mistakes but still be eager to learn. Create a world for them that allows their personal growth to be the center of the classroom.
NU’s hands-on approach to teaching future educators helped me form my unique style. The thoughtful and passionate professors offered me insightful opportunities to learn the craft of teaching and to realize that there is always room to improve. The opportunities to be out in the field offered invaluable experience from countless role models in districts across Western New York.
Being an educator is a lifelong learning experience, and Niagara taught me that, in order to be successful, I have to continually push myself and not allow mediocrity to consume my classroom, both in the way I educate them from a textbook and the way I encourage them to live their life.
So to answer the question, “Why do we have to learn this?” I would say that this topic is not just about the content, it is about the preparation. This class is preparing you to be successful, so you’ll have to trust me, that no matter where you end up, all of this is important.