Teaching philosophy

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. ~ John Cotton Dana

I have always loved to learn. School was such a great experience for me. As I grew older I realized that was not everyone’s experience, and that has motivated me to try and create a positive experience for students. I have had a bit of a journey to get to where I am now. I started in getting my social work degree out of high school. I have worked 3 years in that I have learned that as a person you cannot do everything but you can at least do something. I want to teach like that. I want to try and teach in a way that every student finds something they can relate to. I understand that I cannot do everything for them, but if I can guide a student to find a spark that makes them want to learn, then I will be a happy teacher.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou

As a teacher I want to ensure that every student has a voice. I believe the classroom should be as democratic as possible. Teachers have a lot of power in the classroom and in students’ lives. It is important not to abuse this power. By creating a democratic classroom the power is dispersed among the students. It helps students create the space they are learning in. It also helps students know where they are at or should be at. As Dan Scratch discusses in his blog Teaching for Social Justice: Troublemakers,

If our schools and classrooms are authoritarian places where students are told what to do, how to do it and there is little space for questioning and challenging, then we will inevitably create scenarios for students to rebel. Instead, we should work to democratize our schools and classrooms to bring the “troublemakers” and all other students into the conversation of how the school is run and what rules we should follow.

I want to be able to work with the students to create our classroom space. I understand that this will be no easy task and may take awhile to accomplish this, but it is something to constantly strive for. I want the classroom to be a safe space for students. I want it to be a space where they can explore options, share their ideas and be creative. I was introduced to learning by inquiry this semester and I think it is so valuable to do with students. I was able to participate in a few inquiry lessons myself and what I learned in those lessons has stuck with me. I believe by teaching some lessons in that way, students will be able to gain tools they can use in everyday life. It will also give them confidence in trying new things and exploring.

As a middle years teacher I bring my ability to adapt, to be positive and to make connections. I feel like it is very important to have a rapport and relationship with each student. I have gained this knowledge and ability through my social work education. I was able to learn communication skills and ways to promote open ended questions. I have dealt with people at different phases in their lives. It has taught me that you need to meet people where they are at and go from there. I have learned people are going to make mistakes many times, but what they need is a person to support them through those mistakes instead of a pointing hand telling them what they did wrong. I want to help students understand that mistakes are a part of life and you do not let them define you; you build up from them.

Respond; don’t react. Listen; don’t talk. Think; don’t assume.~Raji Lukkoor

I want to incorporate mindfulness into my classroom. I experienced mindfulness in my second week of pre-internship. It helps bring focus and purpose to the present moment. I feel like this would be beneficial to incorporate in a classroom with students. Students have many other things going on in their lives: stress, anxieties, future plans and schedules. Practicing mindfulness can help students focus their learning and really put them in the present moment. As well, mindfulness takes practice and dedication. I have learned I must practice it first before I get others to practice with me.

The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done. – Jean Piaget