The Role of the Teacher

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see”

Our teachers are highly skilled professionals who understand child development and respect children as individuals. Their concern is wide and deep, for they care about “the whole child”: heart, mind, spirit and body.

Teachers support children’s natural curiosity and interests and learn alongside them. Just as we respect the children in the space, we view the teachers as human beings who bring their own different strengths, passions and ideas to the space. Teachers are viewed not just as caring for the children, but equally as caretakers of the school environment, the philosophy, themselves, and most of all the Surreybrook community as a whole.

When working with children, the teacher’s first job is to be an observer and listener, first attending to the child’s social emotional well-being. The teacher’s next job is to perfect the art of balance. The teacher must learn to balance compassion with responsibility, to offer and model academic options while also respecting the learning that arises naturally from play, to model compassionate communication while also being quiet enough to amplify voices of smaller people, to keep children safe while also offering space for safe risk-taking.

This is no easy task and cannot be done alone, which is why we co-teach and encourage constant communication among the staff. The teachers work together in ways that model problem solving, critical thinking, compassionate communication, and a love of learning.

Rather than offering answers, the teacher most often offers questions, allowing the children space and time to solve their own problems. We trust that children will learn if we allow them both freedom and access to resources. Hence, we view the teacher as more of a shadow than a director, ready to step in and assist when necessary, to provide a possible expansion to an idea, to ask a challenging question, or just to document and record an experience for later reflection.