Some say teaching is a job that you pursue when all other opportunities have failed. Others go into teaching with the idealistic idea to “change the world.” And of course, many go into teaching for the glorious over-the-top pay and three-month summer vacation. Realistically, those who purposely go into the profession have one thing in common; I, like other teachers, have the heart and drive to create a learning environment that not only promotes the importance of communication, but that of respect, motivation, responsibility, socialization, professionalism, maturity, and give the education system a much needed modern reform. Ultimately, when you get that message five years later from that student that said what you taught them changed their life, wither it be content specific or life related, as an educator, you did your job.
Although society has placed more importance on education, the current state of economics and government has caused districts and teachers to increase quality and scores, while decreasing resources and time. As educators, we must find the happy medium, however hard it may be, to utilize the time given and resources allotted to maximize students learning capabilities. Simply put, some think we must create miracles. We can’t. But it is our job to do our very best, and we cannot fail doing so.
We are a country that values education. And as our teachers have paid it forward to us, we must pay it forward to the next generation and give them the best quality education they deserve. In order to better our society and create leaders, politicians, fellow educators, basketball and football players, reporters, businessmen, and mother and fathers, we must be able to give them the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in life. That is the ultimate goal of education, and we must be able to “play the hand with the cards we are dealt.”
In the world of secondary education, we have all found the content that we love. In turn, we choose to pay it forward to our students, and teach them the importance of it. In terms of communication, I believe that perception is the underlying importance. First and foremost, we [communication teachers] must teach our students to simply speak correctly in a public form. But underlying it all, we must be able to teach our students that perception is key – our audience’s perception is the focus, wither the audience is a large crowd, or small class, our significant other, or interviewer. We must be able to communicate properly in order for our receiver to correctly perceive what we want them to perceive, interpersonally or on a mass scale. As a communication studies major/educator, although some may not admit it, we are analytical and critical of people’s communication style, simply to teach others that proper communication is a skill that can be refined. It is something I am good at – speech and analysis – and something I enjoy, along with my passion in education. A simple mix of the two brings me to where I am today…
In my course, I cover a number of topics: communication characteristics, competence, and principals; the communication model; perception process – asking questions before making a judgement; verbal communication and the power of words, bias and troublesome language; non-verbal communication and the nine nonverbal codes; persuasion and logical fallacies; listening and responding; interpersonal communication and relationship management; conflict and conflict management; intrapersonal communication; diversity, culture and ethics; group communication, group dynamics, problem solving, and leadership; mass communication and journalism: books, newspapers, magazines, film, radio, television, internet and social networking; public speaking and speaker anxiety; and debate: parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas.
Understanding and developing skills in communication are fundamental to all other learning and to all levels of human interaction. For successful participating professional and social life, students must develop effective communication skills. Rapidly expanding technologies and changing social and corporate systems demand that students send clear verbal messages, choose effective nonverbal behaviors, listen for desired results, and apply valid critical-thinking and problem solving process.
My main purpose as a [communications] educator is to enable my students to understand that there is world beyond the perspective of their own eyes. My favorite education quote comes from Nelson Mandela. He says, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” As I said earlier, many men and woman paid it forward to us. Now it is time for us to pay it forward to the next generation.