The role of the teacher in the classroom continually changes as years pass. Research on learning theories and teaching strategies are partly responsible for this change. However, I feel that technology is one of the single, largest, changes that schools have had to incorporate. Not only has the role of the student changed, but the role of the teacher has drastically adjusted to changes in tools.
My role in the classroom over the last few years has become the role of a facilitator. My students still look to me as their ‘teacher’ because I am often times the first teacher they work with. I am often times called ‘mom’ by accident (and occasionally grandma) because children at this age really look up to their teachers. By mid-year, that thinking has adjusted, but not completely changed. Students start to realize that I am a resource and a guide rather than a dictator. They start to take ownership in their learning and in their classroom. They then find success and start to realize that they are their first and most important teacher.
In order for me to assist my students, I need to have resources. I need to have a support system for locating and learning to utilize these resources before I introduce them to the students. The ability to let go of control is probably the single-hardest skill for a facilitator. Fortunately, I am finding this to be easier and frankly quite enjoyable as I grow as an educator.
I look forward to growing as a facilitator, instructor, teacher, educator, and occasionally ‘mom’ (rarely grandma). PBL, as well as all strategies and tools I utilize, is growing and changing. This requires me to do the same in my classroom.