Being a "Gatekeeper" -- by Jennifer Mitchell
As a teacher, I could be considered as a “gatekeeper” of knowledge. I think being considered a gatekeeper could be viewed as negative, in some cases, so I'll try to put my own spin on it. Though I have a road map of where I want to guide a student with their education through the course of the year, I also want to give them ownership on how they achieve that. Seeing students learn and grow is a rewarding part of the job. It is even more fulfilling when they go beyond the seeds that I try to plant when instructing them. When education took an odd turn during the pandemic and students were learning from home. We, as a nation, weren’t prepared to give students a perfect learning environment remotely and it became difficult, as a "gatekeeper" to share information in ways students could truly benefit from. When students came back it was a challenge to get them to the level we knew they needed to be (to be prepared for the next grade). It has taken about 2 years, but I think we are finally seeing the educational gaps closing that the pandemic brought about. The excitement of finally seeing proficient readers or students becoming problem-solving mathematicians is so refreshing.
Following the "Road Map" of Teaching
Another exciting part of my job as a “gatekeeper” is having students who are majoring in education from the local university come work and observe in my class. Hopefully by watching and working with students, prior to having their own class, they are learning tools and strategies to become better educators. It is my belief that effective educators are always learning and growing; with all of my years in education, I hope these students can pick up something valuable that they can implement into their future classes.
Jennifer Mitchell -- 3rd Grade teacher in the Kansas City Area