The Core Beliefs of Teachers

By Susan Black

A teacher says the core beliefs she wrote as a student at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., have changed considerably now that she’s taught for six years.

Before becoming an elementary teacher, her beliefs about teaching were high-minded and idealistic. She imagined a picture-perfect classroom, cooperative children, and flawless lessons.

Her greatest challenge has been coming to grips with “the chaos that goes on in schools.” She admits that her idealism has slipped several notches and that she sometimes feels disillusioned. She’s especially dismayed that her school seems to squelch children’s “freshness, creativity, and intuition.”

She recently wrote a collection of new core beliefs that reflect her growing experience. For instance, she says, teachers shouldn’t interrupt children while they’re thinking and working, and teachers should earn, not demand, students’ respect.

This young teacher’s new beliefs are spirited, and they reveal her growing understanding of children and how they learn. She’s counting on her core beliefs to help her through the occasional days that end in “confusion and heartache.” 

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