Thursday, 23 January 2014

To Teach Is to Learn Twice
As a first-year teacher, I quickly learned that my pre-service training had not prepared, and could not prepare me for all the situations that I would encounter in the classroom. Teacher education programs stress the importance of initiative, intuition, and life-long learning as skills that teachers need to develop.

However, pre-service programs cannot teach those skills—just as they cannot instill in teachers the desire to make a difference in their students’ lives. When teaching, I remind myself that I was once where my students are now—struggling with theories and concepts and relying on teachers as learning guides.

Now, however, it is my responsibility to ensure that students understand the very concepts that I once struggled to learn. I realize that what I had learned as a student, I had to learn again as a teacher. I had to revisit this content with the intent of finding ways to make it meaningful to students. I began to see concepts in new ways and I realized that I was learning along with my students.

This realization secured my commitment to the processes of life-long learning and professional development that my pre-service instructors had talked about so long ago.

Paul Allen
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education,
University of New Brunswick

Former Secondary-School Teacher

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