Alexander Piedra, 6th Grade Teacher, Walker Upper Elementary School
What has your classroom experience taught you that studying education could not have prepared you for?
My classroom experience has taught me the importance of relationships in teaching in a way that studying education simply couldn’t do. As a teacher, it is important to maintain positive relationships with not only our students, but with parents, other teachers, and administrators. Whether it’s strengthening rapport with students, emailing and updating parents, collaborating with co-workers, or responding to school administrators, keeping healthy relationships makes each day pleasant.
What teaching adjustments do you plan to make moving forward?
I am constantly looking for ways to improve my teaching. In the future, I hope to use my classroom space in more creative ways and look outside of my four walls for other venues to teach as well. I also hope to continue to make school an enjoyable experience for all of my students by using creative and memorable strategies to engage them in the learning process.
In your eyes, what is the biggest challenge facing education currently?
I think the biggest challenge facing education is standardized testing. I believe that high stakes testing has limited the creativity of both teachers and students, thus narrowing education. Under the pressures of high stakes testing, schools struggle at times to understand the student as a whole child, and instead view a child based on mere knowledge of minimal facts. Standardized testing also appears to encourage standardized teaching, which limits the creativity a teacher can have in their classroom as forced programs sometimes replace engaging lesson planning; and SOL-aligned textbooks are preferred to other methods of teaching.
For the next few weeks, to gain insight on what important lessons our young teachers learn early in their careers, Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Meet Your Educator profiles will feature first- and second-year teachers.