Over the four years of my teaching, I have learned that vulnerability in the classroom is o.k.! Students connect with other humans, not to robotic, educational facades of what “proper” teachers are supposed to look like. From the beginning, I have struggled to fit this prescribed mold and have progressively taken steps away from it in order to challenge students’ opinion of the “traditional” English teacher.
In my classroom, I utilize any means necessary to engage students with elements of language and literature. I stand on top of desks, rock out to pop music, and even throw in grammar cheers. Often students don’t even realize they are learning--they see an eccentric red-head who makes them laugh and magically remember literary concepts. What they don’t see is that Mrs. Anderson had to set aside what she was taught a “good” teacher looked like and had to learn how to be vulnerable to the students for whom she daily performs.
Sarah Tanner Anderson
Buckingham County Middle School, Virginia
4 years of teaching