The Storypark blog shares diverse opinions from educators and parents all over the world. Today our guest opinion piece is from the author of ‘Uplifting Early Childhood‘. What are your thoughts? Share them below in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!
The loud teacher quandary… When I began my journey in early childhood education and care, I had some amazing teachers to draw from, to replicate and emulate as much as possible. My philosophy did not pay homage to the early childhood theorists of the early to mid 1900’s like a lot of philosophies tend to do. My philosophy instead was more from my own experiences and beliefs, but largely from what I observed from those I truly felt were amazing teachers, practitioners who epitomised what being an early childhood teacher was all about.
One aspect of what I observed, I thought exemplified a quality teacher as well. I equated being loud, boisterous, and over the top expressive with being traits possessed by only the best of teachers. They were able to engage children immediately with their booming voices, often drowning out the music blaring on the radio, and the children who had all been engaged and immersed in their own play experiences. Immediately, they’d look over to see this teacher, filled with enthusiasm and a passion for wanting to teach children, to draw them into an adventure – an expedition to find a bear sleeping in a cave, or a quest to find Captain Yellowbeard’s hidden treasure.
What I didn’t realise then, is that I would eventually become the complete opposite. I was led by the wrong practice. Even though the loud, exuberant, larger than life, over the top teacher seemed like an appealing prospect – it has become the antithesis of what I would consider to be a quality of a great teacher. I was lured by the seeming uninhibited fun and dangerously high decibel range.
What I was failing to see at the time was the distraction the loud teachers were creating. Forcing the eyes of engaged children to turn, often breaking whatever thought they may have been having, or working theory they might have been developing. They were not only noticed by the children but noticed by colleagues as a stand out, a picture of perfect teaching.
So I guess what I am saying is – being loud, ‘fun’, over the top, and distracting are not qualities I would consider to be indicators of a great teacher. The calm, unassuming, aware teachers are the ones I admire most. The ones who restrain themselves when all they might want to do is ask a child ‘What colour is that?!’ The active observer, the teacher who just appreciates being there – in the presence of children exploring and inspiring their own learning – those are the teachers I now admire and love to work with.
There is a place for everyone! Balance makes a great team..
I don’t understand why can’t great teachers be both? Great teachers are not even either of the types you describe. Great teachers are the ones can blend into any scenario they come across. As long as they are there for the children when they are needed the most. For the tears and the laughter and be a support to the children and love them and nuture them as their own.
I am a loud teacher; I always have been. I sing, I dance, I use my volume as an engagement tool and also I bloody well can not help it.
But I also spend a lot of time in my day sitting near my kinders watching them play; observing what they are doing and guiding play only if it becomes *too* dangerous or disruptive. I ask questions if the children are looking for answers, and I let them ask questions of me.
I also grew up loving my loud teachers because I had been told over and over that I am loud; in fact once I was told that it was a good thing my boyfriend was deaf and could turn his hearing aids off when I was around. These loud teachers taught me that my loud voice, and my vibrant personality was an asset not just an annoying trait.
I can be both, and I can be great.
Yes I’m a loud outgoing trail blazing educator to the point I exhaust myself in my quest to bring the wonderful world of song dance and stories to life. I like you Rachael cannot help my loudness, and love working with the quiet educators as well together we create a balance.
I can so relate to this. The loud overbearing teacher is often offering ” entertainment curriculum ” not ” education curriculum “. They see the program as all about” me” not the children. However in a team approach different styles can compliment each other, and we the other staff and the children have an opportunity to bond ,learn and respond to different personalities .
I am blessed with deep voice that I can use whatever tone I want when it is relevant, eg, I have been in many center in most of those centers I always works with toddlers, toddlers are very active, so when we transition from one curriculum area to another our calm, soft voice teachers can’t even settle children, they will spend the whole time tidying up the mess children making, because children take advantage of those soft voice by running from one place to another, knocking off toys from benches leaving messes for teachers to tidy up, so to me just find the relevant time to use your loud voice, remember there is a reason why you have that kind of voice, yes you can’t use it all the time, I use my soft calm voice when I do mat time, devotions, singing and group activities but I only use my loud voice when I want to grab the attention of children.