Teacher's Recollection of Life and Values
As an early childhood educator, it is important to identify your key values and beliefs. This is to ensure the children of the future will have the confidence and be able to believe in themselves. Leading them to be great and extraordinary. Having a good sense of your values and beliefs you learn to adapt them to life experiences, which gives you the compatibility to respond correctly and appropriately. Being able to identify the links to your past and present values can only help shape you into the teacher you hope to become. There are a few values and beliefs that I value more than others personally and that is down to my life experiences. As I look at myself in the present, my current values and beliefs are what have helped to build me into what I have become today. When I look at values, I see aspects of my life that I follow and that have influenced who I am as an individual.
Leadership is an important value to me because I am constantly surrounded by the younger generation and being a good role model is important for children to see. I am very lucky to have such powerful role models in my life today. My husband’s mother is a prime example of a role model, she is loyal, confident, kind, caring and such an empowering woman. Without her influence in my life, I truly believe I never would have held some of the values, and beliefs I have now. In an early childhood environment leadership is not only just about certain roles and responsibilities. It is about having the right attitudes, and intentions for your colleagues, the children and their whanau’s to be able to feel a sense of belonging with their values and cultural beliefs (Grey and Clark, 2013).
Having good leadership skills brings in another important value of mine, which is accepting change. This is by being able to learn and to grow at the same time, it is not necessarily changing who you are or what you believe in but how you accept the challenge and develop your confidence to change. For example, when you learned to ride a bike, you have training wheels; if you never accepted the change of no training wheels, you never would have been able to ride the bike. This is important to me because if I never had the confidence and support to change my career path, I most likely would still be in a job that was not for me.
Having confidence is something you learn from your teachers and environment. Growing up to become an adult sometimes you lose that confidence you once had, I believe I had lost that. I still do not have the confidence I hoped I would have as an adult, but I am continuously growing with it which is helping to shape who am I as an individual.
Having empathy is another big value I strongly have. In the last year, my three best friends have all lost a parent. Experiencing this with them it has truly opened my eyes to a different emotion and how I respond to other people. One of the parents really left me thinking one day when she told me that my friend was so lucky to have someone as beautiful and kind as I am. This woman had never met me at the time, but she knew my values, who I was and how genuine I am. Her loss continues to affect me every day, but I know how proud she would be of me right now.
Looking at my past, my values link to when my parents separated, I immediately had to step up and become a parent to my younger siblings. I know this was never my parent’s intentions but, being the older sibling and having a loving nature, I knew I had to protect them. I was their role model. They turned to me and I would drop everything for them, which I continue to do so. I always empathized with my parents in how they both dealt with the separation. By having a good sense of empathy, I was able to create a safe place for my siblings. Which can relate to the Maori terminology of tuakana – teina, this means the older sibling supports the younger sibling through knowledge and guidance making the younger sibling feel safe (Ministry of Education, 2017). I feel as though our environment has impacts on how we see ourselves. It either empowers our confidence but can also disempower it by which setting we are in and if we feel confident to be who we are. (Lee, Carr, Soutar, Mitchell, 2013). I had to create a safe environment for my siblings to support their learning and their wellbeing. Being a role model has come naturally to me.
From my life experiences, within our Southland community I was a pippin helper along with my mother who was the leader. I was always greeted by the children with passion and enthusiasm. When I was 11, I was presented with a police award for being the most outstanding year 6 and a role model to the younger students. I got presented this award in front of the whole school and at the time I really thought nothing of it but, thinking back on it, I have been a natural role model and leader without even realizing it. I want to be the type of teacher that has an imprint on the children. To me this looks like leading by example, being confident, and having empathy for others.
Knowing that my past will impact the teacher I will become, I will continue to be a role model to not only the children but to my peers and other adults. As a teacher, you need to have all the principles functioning in sync because children learn holistically. If there is an imbalance, it will affect the children’s learning and how they feel (Ministry of Education, 2017). The culture I have married into will help define and give me a better understanding of the Māori tikanga. With this, I will be able to give the children and their whānau my best knowledge of where New Zealand started, and the way Māori practises have influenced the early childhood curriculum. My early childhood teachers have given me a sense of the type of teacher I want to be. At the time I never understood the impact they had on my value’s and how I have grown into the person I am today. I hope that I leave as much of an impact on my children as they did for me. In conclusion, the past, present and the future is going to shape the type of teacher we all become. Every person has different life experiences, cultural values, and beliefs. As a teacher we need to be flexible and prepared to change but not change who we are as individuals. On reflection the “past, present, future” essay has given me the insight on how I want to be as a teacher by using my values and beliefs. My husband’s tribe Ngāi Tahu has a whakataukī that really stands out to me “Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – for us and our children after us” as the children are our future. It is important for each teacher’s values, attitudes and beliefs to shape what the future generation will become.
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