An Enthusiastic Teacher

Thursday, 11.30am, in Master students’ room at SMEC

The room is very quite, I sit around waiting for someone. I really want to interview her to explore her motivation to be a teacher. After waiting for a while, she is coming with her friendly face. Then, I started to interview her. I met her last week and she was looked seriously looking on her computer screen. She comes from America, just visit SMEC for a couple weeks. Later, I knew that she explores the science inquiry-based curriculum. Through the interview, I can see her eyes are shining, showing her love, and care for her students. One of her experiences that she told me: “Looking back it when I started truly implementing inquiry based science into my classroom; I remember one of my first activities that I prepared for four hours. I thought when I have done so exciting, oh..I hope it is worth because it took four hours and I was so anxious. Then, I started the lesson, my students were not very used to that but they were excited. I look around, and all my students were engaged and truly learning. I was so excited, it’s work”

She has been teaching for 13 years. For me, she is very enthusiasm teacher who always wants to create the meaningful learning environment for her students. She always applies the constructivist in her classroom. She is the only one who applies the science based-inquiry curriculum in her school. Even though, she never wanted to be a teacher since she was a child, her interaction with the children motivated her to be a teacher. I learnt much from her in the short time, especially her teaching philosophy that are all students can learn and succeed, learning should be interesting and enjoyable, students learn by interaction with others. She has metaphor that the curriculum as inquiry, curriculum as discovery, curriculum as developing concepts, and curriculum as experiences. Those guide her to create the meaningful learning for her students.

That story may be not related to the assignment, but I feel that rather than I put again my experiences on the restricted of curriculum, I choose to explore more how to turn over the threat to the opportunity. I learnt from the curricula unit and the interview that I did, teachers’ metaphor on curriculum could shape their teaching practice. “Metaphor as linguistic expressions are possible precisely because there are metaphors in a person’s conceptual system” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p.5). “A metaphor is a compressed, imaginative expression of a perspective…[which allows] teachers [to] see themselves, their students, and their work” (Boostrom, 1998,p.397). Furthermore, according to Cameron (2002), using metaphor in teaching strategies can help students to understand the concepts and learn more effectively in science. As a result, metaphor not only shapes teaching practice for teachers but also for students to shape their learning strategies.

I realize that there are some problems related to curriculum and assessment in my country. However, at least my government tries to improve the conditions that are applying the curriculum based on life skills and outcomes based education. The problem is the national examination still based on the traditional one that encourages the students to remember the content rather than the understanding. Therefore, School as market, it is reproducer the students who can pass the national examination. The students view the curriculum as memorizing and curriculum as examination. The national examination also influences the teachers to view the curriculum as metal chain that is very strict and inflexible. Curriculum can express “the desires of a hegemonic power structure, forcing teachers and learners to conform to rigidly controlled conditions” (Baptis, 2002, p.27). Even though, “curriculum is often portrayed as a formal and technical process…[it could] involves intense give and take, sharing of ideas, questions about philosophy, and so on by professional teacher” (Beane & Lipka, 1986, p.199). Therefore, I believe that teachers still have opportunity to shape their teaching in the classroom as meaningful learning for the students. Furthermore, it is a challenge for teachers to shift their paradigms from standardized tests to facilitating student inquiry (Magestro & Stanford-Blair 2000 as cited in Henderson & Kesson, 2004). Even though, it is difficult for shifting someone paradigms, but I believe that everyone could.

I have been teaching for two years after I graduated from bachelor degree in chemistry education. Therefore, compare to my other classmates I only had less experience in teaching. However, I tried to reflect those less experience to improve my teaching. When I was student in undergraduate, my lecturer taught me curriculum as subject matter, curriculum as objectives, and curriculum as planned activities (Schubert, 1986). Curriculum is quite often defined as a product- a document which includes details about goals, objectives, content, teaching techniques, evaluation and assessment, and resources [which are issued by government]” (Marsh, 2000, p.66). For my first year as a teacher in the high school, these metaphors shaped my teaching practices. I tend to finish the contents rather than focus on my students’ understanding. The results were they were bored and slept in the classroom. The worst effect is 70% of my students failed in the national examination. Those bad experiences taught me to create the meaningful learning experiences for my students. Therefore, I realize that the metaphor of curriculum as experiences is important to apply in the classroom.

My journey at SMEC teaches me to be critical, empathy, and emancipation. My teaching experiences taught me creating meaningful learning is valuable for the students. However, I should learn how to emancipate my students. Teacher should give the soul for the students to change the world (Breault, 2006). According to Baptis (2000),”curriculum, like the garden, is an environment that could restore and heal the self, the community, and the earth. I learnt from the curricula unit that curriculum as agenda social reconstruction and curriculum as currere which encourage me to explore the ways to implement those metaphors in my teaching practices. “Teaching as lived, as experienced prior to the conceptualizations layed over raw experience as parking lots over organic soil” (Pinar & Reynolds, 1992, p.7). Creating lived and meaningful experiences is not only to create the valuable journey for students, but also to empower them.

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