A teacher in a modern

learning environment


Brigita Uršič


The basic feature of teaching in school is extreme difficulty. The general view of the teaching profession is quite the opposite. Many trained and dedicated teachers have been trying to improve the school for many years. A modern teacher leads a class effortlessly, talks a lot with pupils and tries to get as close as possible to them. A teacher has to engourage learning, as well as take care of his own personal and professional development. The teacher must be an expert interested in quality and he must also gain the support and cooperation of parents to teach and guide their children in a similar way at home. The teacher needs to be open to change as he loses some traditional roles and gains some new ones. He adapts learning content to modern information technologies and knows how to think critically. He must respect and take pupils seriously as equal interlocutors, as only in this way can he establish good relations with them (Jull, 2014). The teacher is a very important personality for pupils. The teacher must be supporting, encouraging and has to motivate pupils to act, succeed and develop their personality (Marinček, 2002). The teacher is a seeker of the ”right” way in the modern learning space.

Key words: digital age, modern teacher, new role of a teacher, relationship pupil-teacher-parents, stimulating learning environment.

1. Teacher’s role in modern learning environment

A teacher has a significant impact on a child’s development, as he is the one who spends a good part of the day with pupils. This is especially true for teachers who teach at the grade level. Many first-graders and second-graders are at school from early morning care, that is from 6 am, to late-afternoon on-call care, until 5 pm. Therefore, it is especially important that children at this time are in the hands of qualified and dedicated people who are aware of their responsibilities and influence in shaping the young person and are willing to do their best.

A pluralistic society demands even greater quality from the educational system. The modern teacher must look for better, more constructive educational approches for the younger generations, who are entering increasingly complex social currents. The teacher must be well acquainted with and understand the needs of the present generations of pupils. I believe that the traditional role, in which adults play the role of a teacher and children play the role of a pupil, no longer functions and inhibits relaxed relationships that contribute to well-being and, consequently, to a more effective educational process. Modern generations of pupils want to be accepted as whole people. Therefore, the teacher has to talk to the children much more, get to know them in all respects, so that the children feel he is really interested in them. He must praise them many times and empower them. The teacher must move away from collectivist education and give children the opportunity to develop individually.

2. Class teacher – my thirty years of practice

Class teachers are indispensable in school everyday life and for the operation of the school. If the class teacher is dedicated, responsible, professional and heartfelt, he can contribute to the culture, climate and image of the school in public. The class teacher is faced with many expectations and tasks dictated by legal provisions, the professional public, pupils, parents, school management and colleagues. The class teacher constantly sets himself tasks. We do not have adequate education for class teachers. The class teacher must constantly adapt his/her approaches and tasks to different classes. My thirty years of experience with class teaching has shown that there is no recipe for classroom teaching. To me, practice and additional education contributed the most to the sovereign classroom teaching. I gained a lot of knowledge and skills for practicing classroom education through two years of training as a mediator and as school mediator. As a class teacher, I adhere to the guideline that a child’s progress in school (learning and social) is as successful as possible if there is constant and quality communication between parents, children and teachers. I benefit from the knowledge and skills in the field of mediation. I think that all four competency areas are equally important for good and successful classroom teaching: academic, didactic, managerial and attitudinal. It is very important that children like to go to school and that they are not Slika 1afraid. For the last eight years, when I have been a class teacher to first-graders, I have noticed that most of them go to school with joy and pride that they have become schoolchildren. The school must not insist on a position of power, but accept the diversity of its members and welcome them. As a class teacher, I talk to children a lot because I want to get as close to them as posssible and get to know them as holistic personalities (picture 1).

Picture 1. Socializing with pupils on a mountain trip

Children are very sensitive to injustices, so they need to be treated equally and their thoughts and feelings taken seriously. Children need to be given the experience that the teacher takes other adults and children equally seriuously. I believe that a teacher’s personality traits are very important for successful work with children. The research shows that class teachers are aware of their responsibilities for successful work. The analysis of their opinions has shown that it is very important that the teacher is fair and honest and consistent in his work because only in this way can he inspire confidence in pupils (Pajtler, 2009).

In my class practice, I try to complain as little as possible about pupils and accept responsibilities. Therefore, I try to offer parents pedagogical help and support when they need it and to develop an equal dialogue with them in a professional conversation. I tell parents at the first parent-teacher meeting that I expect an open and respectful dialogue and constructive cooperation. However, pedagogical workers need to be aware of the diversity of parents, so we need to show a lot of openness and tolerance and as little prejudice as possible. In recent years I have noticed that there is almost no parent who has a negative attitude towards school. I perceive that parents respect me both professionally and humanly. The spring (2019/20) and autumn (2020/21) closure of schools raised the profile of teachers, as parents in turn praised us for the professional implementation of remote learning and acknowledged our humanity as never before. Personally, I consider this to be a major turning point in the view of a teacher’s work. During this time, the teachers, each in their own way, faced the unknown, explored the possibilities and ways of remote learning and learnt modern digital technology, which Slika 2we had to bring closer to both children and parents. Despite the abundance of work, I also took care of the social and emotional aspect of remote learning during this period, with the help of the Zoom application, for which the pupils were most deprived (picture 2).

Picture 2. Zoom teaching

It seems that during the period of both quarantines, teachers, pupils and parents became even closer. This is supported by many e-mails from parents, in which all three teachers who taught in the class were praised and thanked. I have not yet received so many words of recognition for my work, I think this applies to many other teachers as well. This gives the teacher new energy and self-confidence for further pedagogical work, as well as joy and pride.

3. Conclusion

My thirty years of pedagogical work have been marked by two major changes. We began to respect children more, talk to them more and understand them as holistic personalities. Children also became more competent and thoughtful. The other change is new ways of learning that have changed drastically in the last twenty years. Modern digital technology has brought a new learning environment into education. Children are already born into the digital world and learn digital language spontaneously, which is not the case for us, as we learn a new language only later. We live in a time of rapid social changes, so it is very difficult to educate for the future because we do not know what the future will be like. Teachers today are aware that teaching is far from our only task. In addition to parents, we are the most important people in the lives of most children. Despite the fact that the teacher’s work is difficult and responsible, it also brings satisfaction. There is no greater joy, motivation and satisfaction when you meet again successful young people whom you helped on the way to growing up.

4. Literature

  1. Jull, J. (2014). Šolski infarkt: Kaj lahko storimo, da bo šlo otrokom, staršem in učiteljem bolje. Celovec: Mohorjeva družba v Celovcu.
  2. Marinček, A. (2002). Osebnostna vzgoja: Vzgoja za družino in življenje. Celje: Cilian.
  3. Pajtler, M. (2009). Vloga razrednika na razredni stopnji (Diplomsko delo). Maribor: Pedagoška fakulteta.