My philosophy on teaching…
I believe in the power of education.
One of the greatest gifts a child can receive is an education. A mere eight hours – just one day at school – can open up an entire world of new possibilities to students. They discover English, reading, science, social studies, history, and math. They experience music, health, art, theatre, woodshop, and home economics. Working as a twelve-man tag-team, teachers guide each individual student through the journey of education. The beauty of this adventure is that at the end, there are even more opportunities just waiting to be taken. Children, who blossom into young adults, can take the interests and knowledge they have accumulated in their twelve-year quest of education, and do magical things. Students today are the generation of the future. They can save, they can create, they can discover. They will make a difference; they will change our world.
I believe in quality instruction.
While teaching styles may differ, all teachers should possess common instructional strategies. In middle level grades, students thrive with hands-on activity; they learn by doing. Authentic experiences, designed to build on content knowledge, is most effective in a classroom. Lessons should include a wide variety of activities in order to keep the daily schedule fresh and exciting. Students also need to care about what they are learning, and allowing them opportunities to make real-life connections make this possible. I believe in being direct during instruction: tell students what they are going to learn, how they are going to learn, and why it is important to learn. Quality instruction entails research-proven techniques such as scaffolding, cooperative learning, and graphic organizers, where students are involved in processes that require them to think critically and use higher levels of thought. When encouraging students to reach these higher levels, frequent and ongoing feedback is critical for improvement and enrichment. It is also essential to be a positive influence throughout all levels of learning. Fostering high expectations, praising progress, and honoring achievement give students the incentive to continue striving for academic success.
I believe in fairness.
Being fair does not necessarily mean providing an entire class with equal things. Rather, it means giving each individual exactly what he or she needs. Some learning strategies may work better for one student, while the student to the left requires a completely different approach. It would be unfair to ignore the diverse needs of certain students, because everyone that steps foot in my classroom deserves to learn. I believe in the use of differentiated instruction; on the roadway of education, I will provide each student with an individually designed path to a common destination. This instruction is extremely important in the education of students who are ESL/ELL or students with disabilities and special needs. An important aspect of differentiated instruction is that it does not need to be publicized; there are many things I can do clandestinely so that unwanted attention from the rest of the class, whether good or bad, is not brought upon a student.
I believe in a classroom community.
A classroom should be warm, inviting, and secure. No student should walk into school every day feeling alone or overwhelmed. It is my duty to transform my classroom into a community, and then the class into a culture. Classroom arrangement greatly induces a sense of acceptance, and room decoration fosters a welcoming atmosphere. I believe in greeting students at the door, addressing each one by name, and showing interest in their lives. Groups for cooperative learning activities should be mixed often, so that all students are given the opportunity to work with each other. Frequent and ongoing parent or family communication is also imperative. When students know that their learning community extends beyond the physical classroom, they realize that their success is important to more people than they originally thought. Striving to make these extended members proud act as yet another motivator for students.
I believe in management, not discipline.
Expertise of content knowledge, pedagogy skills, and plenty of experience are all necessities for crafting a good teacher, but one thing is missing from that list in order to be shifted onto a higher pedestal: management. Starting the very first day of school, I believe in the implementation of a classroom management plan, tailored to my personality, school district, grade level, and classroom culture. Students in the middle level grades prosper when they are surrounded with a consist balance of freedom and structure. Creating a routine of procedures, from a certain way of entering the room to a specific technique of dismissal, effectively allows a smooth flow of the school day. These procedures act as preventative strategies, proactive ways to minimize misbehavior. I must also have back up plans, such as supportive and corrective strategies. For success, I must manage the classroom, not discipline it.
I believe in being a role model.
I am the core of education. When students sit in class, their eyes are on me. When students have need homework help, they ask me. When students have problems, they seek advice from me. I am a role model. My actions, words, wardrobe, and demeanor influence every student that steps into my classroom. This influence is then carried to the students’ homes, the society, and eventually the future. I must model proper behavior, work ethics, and professionalism, so that these desirable traits are passed on to the students – our next generation.
I believe in teaching.