The Virtues of Teaching

The virtues which I have chosen to talk about are:

Patience, Kindness, Respect, Honesty and Self-control.

Patience – The ability to have patience is one of mass importance in most aspects of life. However, I feel it is emphasised further in the role of a teacher as it is something which needs to be used every day. Patience provides us with the ability to take our time and take a step back. This is in order to try and understand where others are coming from. I feel like helps us to develop our professionalism as we have to think of professional ways in which to respond to certain situations and by being patient, this allows us to fully examine the situation and provide the most appropriate and professional response.

Kindness – Kindness is the ability to show compassion and empathy but could also be as simple as being understanding and polite. This is an area of which I feel is often overlooked but I feel it has a massive impact especially within the role of a teacher. If you show kindness towards the children in your class not only are you giving them a positive role model to look up to you are also presenting yourself as someone they can trust and someone who they can hopefully open up to or ask for help.

Respect – Respect is one of those terms which I feel are extremely important with whomever you are dealing with whether it be in a teaching setting e.g. Pupils, parents, other teachers, or within your personal life. I have formed the opinion that everyone should be treated with respect and that this is the only way in which you can gain respect back. Just like the good old saying “treat others as you wish to be treated”. I feel that respect within the role of a teacher is essential and that mutual respect should always be one of the main areas of focus within the classroom. I feel that respect is also a huge part of being a professional as you will often come across opinions that you do not agree with, however, in order to deal with this matter in a professional way you need to be respectful of others.

Honesty – By being honest it allows you the chance to express who you really are and show people what you are truly like. In order to be a professional you have to be honest with your peers and within a school context with your class. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and if you do make sure to own up to them as it is the only way in which you can learn from them. Also by showing that you have the ability to be honest it will more than likely gain you more respect which can lead into many positive consequences within your profession.

Self-control – Self–control is an area in which everyone struggles with. However, within the profession of a teacher it is one you have to firmly have under your belt. Every day you will come across situations which will make you angry and annoyed but it is how you deal with these situations which is important especially when it is dealing with children. When working with children you have to always make sure that what you are saying is appropriate and can’t let your emotions blur that.


Enquiring Practice

The role of being an enquiring practitioner, in my opinion goes hand in hand with the responsibilities of being a teacher. This is because through my research I have discovered that it has become an important, irreplaceable tool in the profession of a teacher. Enquiring practice is the process of analysing and having a deeper look into the way things are done. As the name suggest it is enquiring about the ways in which things are done. Other than this, enquiring practice includes other vital elements such as evaluating and reflecting on your teaching methods and practices.

Benefits of enquiring practice are that it can get you out of a set way of thinking, open up different ways of doing things and encourage you to experiment with new methods and strategies. Another benefit of enquiring practice is that it could possibly provide a method for teachers to examine and work on their own ways of teaching. Also, through the process of enquiring practice you receive the opportunity to gain many beneficial skills which can easily be transferred to other aspects of life such as the abilities to think critically and develop on existing knowledge and understanding, which I see as another benefit.

Despite the fact that enquiring practice is seen as a positive practice, like any teaching practice there are also challenges involved. It can be difficult sometimes to break away from the way that you are used to doing things and therefore this can be a challenging aspect of enquiring practice. Another challenge to enquiring practice as it can often be a slow process and this is something which needs to be accepted and embraced by student teachers and qualified teachers.

As a student teacher it is extremely important that I try to engage with enquiring practice as possible. This is because it will prepare me for the role of a teacher and the challenges that come along with the profession. I feel that getting involved in enquiring practice now is especially beneficial as it will allow me to formulate and review my own professional learning and practice. It will also allow me to understand and adapt to the wide range of variables within the teaching profession such as various learning and teaching styles.

How did my gender affect me as a child?

To answer this question simply, I don’t believe that my gender did have too much of an affect on me as a child.  I can never remember being treated any differently because I was a girl and to be honest I cannot remember ever thinking to myself “I cant do this because I’m a girl!” I believe this was mainly down to the facts that both my family, friends and school were quite accepting and were not too bothered about people sticking to their gender stereotypes.  I was always the type to be having races and playing football in the playground and I cannot ever remember receiving any prejudice or judgement for this.  However, I do feel that my school were more accepting of behaviour from girls compared to boys and as awful as it sounds girls in my classes always got away with more than the boys did.  Therefore, personally my gender did not affect me in such a negative way as a child but saying that, I did witness many others be treated differently purely as a result of their gender.

Why did I choose teaching?

This is one of those questions which I cannot give a simple answer to, mainly due to the fact that a large variety factors contributed to my decision.  However, if I was to pinpoint a single moment in which I truly thought to myself “I want to be a teacher” it would be during my time in Rwanda.  It was while visiting this incredible East African country that I had the opportunity to learn and appreciate the importance of education as well as see first hand the impact education can have. Many of the children I had the opportunity of meeting on my short 2 week trip couldn’t go to school, not because they didn’t want to but because they either couldn’t afford it or had other more ‘grown up’ responsibilities such as caring for younger siblings or collecting food and water.  However, those who did have the opportunity attend school ensured they got the most out despite the overcrowded classrooms and lack of resources.  These children were so desperate to learn that they would climb in windows and stand outside classrooms with the hope of getting involved.  Every child I had the opportunity to meet was an inspiration, they didn’t focus on what they didn’t have but instead focused all their attention onto what they did have – the opportunity to learn.  As cliché as it sounds it was this eagerness to learn which completely changed my opinion on education and made me determined to progress into teaching.

P1000204 (a typical Rwandan classroom setting)

As a result of my classroom experiences I have found that the best teachers are those who are approachable, understanding and genuinely interested in what they are teaching.  I would like to become the kind of teacher who is exactly that, someone who the children are not afraid to ask for help if they need it whether that be relating to their work or just someone to talk to if they are having a bad day, as well as someone who makes learning enjoyable, interesting and interactive to ensure that all the students in my class take full advantage of the free education they have and are provided the opportunities to achieve their education goals and aspirations.



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Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

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