In order for my classroom organization and management plan to be successful, it is important for both students and the teacher to understand what their own roles are and what each other’s roles are. In my classroom, the teacher’s main role will be as an expert guide. Because I want students to feel involved in and responsible for their own learning, I don’t think “instructor” or “manager” is the correct term I would use for the main role of the teacher. Instead, I see the main role of the teacher as a guide, one who has expertise and authority but wants students to often take the lead with their learning. Because the teacher’s main role is an expert guide, the students’ main role is an active learner and explorer. I think it is important for students to have agency in their education, and this role allows them to do so. With a subject such as English Language Arts, many students may feel as though they will never use the subject matter in their own lives. I believe it is the role of the teacher as guide to help the students as active learners and explorers to find a more meaningful or practical use for the subject matter in their own lives. With the students and teacher in these roles, the learning experience can become more personalized and active, allowing each student to feel engaged and empowered in the classroom.
In addition to these main roles, there are many additional roles of the teacher and students. The teacher should also act as a role model, as an equitable judge or authority figure, as a sympathetic listener, and as a creator of a safe and welcoming environment for all students. Students’ additional roles should be members of a cooperative and welcoming learning community, helpers to their peers, and sharers of knowledge. By agreeing to these roles, the teacher and students can together create a welcoming, cooperative and inclusive environment in which students take responsibility for their own learning, guided by an expert teacher.
Finally, when taking on these roles, the teacher should always adhere to the Professional Standards of Michigan Teachers (PSMT) and should eagerly take part in professional development activities that help progress skill in these standards. This Organization and Management Plan covers many of these standards, such as Effective Learning Environments; Responsibilities and Relationships to the School, Classroom and Student; Instructional Design and Assessment; and Responsibilities and Relationships to the Greater Community. I believe the role of teacher as expert requires the teacher to possess the other PSMT standards of Subject Matter Knowledge, Curricular and Pedagogical Content Knowledge Aligned with State Resources, and Technology Operations and Concepts. Without meeting these standards, a teacher would not be able to guide students and provide a learning environment in which all can learn.