As an educator it is very important to have a teaching philosophy.Even more importantly is to have a philosophy that is your own, not someone else’s that you read or heard.Your teaching philosophy defines you as a teacher almost like a personality defines you in life.There are many aspects that can affect your philosophy and also I believe it is ever changing based on your experience.
First off, what is the whole purpose of our education system?I believe the purpose of education is to provide students with the tools needed to become successful in life.It is a broader spectrum than just teaching them facts out of a book, whether that book is Math, Science, English, etc.What good is a bunch of facts if a child does not know how to apply them to their life and aspirations?Whether we admit it or not, when it all comes down to it, our society pushes education on our children for one main purpose…to grow up and get a good job.So it only makes sense that we should be gearing our education so that it can be applied in real world applications.
There are two roles that need to be fulfilled to make all of this work fluidly; the student and the teacher.The student should be exactly that, they should be open and willing to accept the new material and come up with thought out questions to get the most out of their experience.The teacher on the other hand is more than just a person who delivers the material.The teacher’s role is to ensure that each student is receiving the material.A teacher needs to be aware of any student who is having difficulty and needs to be able to diversify their method of instruction so that the troubled student can better understand the material.The teacher’s role should be a constant one of giving input and analyzing the feedback given by the students.Whether it is in the form of tests and quizzes, classroom participation or homework tendencies, a teacher must be able to react to this feedback in order to adjust instruction to better serve the class.
Since our students are in fact very different from one another it is imperative that teachers diversify their instruction to apply to all students and not just the majority.There are a number of ways to do this and I have found many to be effective during my student teaching experience.Diverse methods of instruction are a must.Students should be allowed to turn into robots when they walk into the room which is caused by a dull routine.Routines can be beneficial when they are well planned out and there is plenty of room for adjustments.Routines that are not planned well turn into ruts and are difficult for struggling students to get out of and often this problem is not noticed until it is too late.For students of varied ability levels it is good to have diversified homework assignments.A general assignment with optional “challenge problems” for the students who are understanding the material very well and similar simplified problems for those students who need a little more guidance during assignments.For the students who are in danger of passing, it is always a great idea to have them come in for extra help during study time or after school.I’ve found that the one on one instruction is beneficial and gives the students the confidence they need to be more active and involved during class.Also, grouping struggling students with stronger students is helpful on both ends.The struggling student gets the guidance while the stronger student gets the challenge that they need to keep them sharp.After all, the best way to master something is to be able to teach it.
All of these methods are useless unless you know where you want it to go.Success is an obvious goal for a teacher to expect for their students but I don’t believe that is enough.Ultimately, my goal is for my students to be working and participating to their full potential.An B is not “good enough” for an exceptional student; they should be working towards mastery and should have a teacher who can guide them to achieve it.On the opposite end of the spectrum, I don’t believe that failure of a subject is always negative for a student.A student who can only manage around 65% (when applying themselves) can benefit greatly by being held back to repeat and better learn the material.Too many times it is the case that students are told that a borderline grade is “close enough” and are pushed on only to struggle through the rest of their high school career.If repeating a grade pushes those borderline grades into the B range, it can make a world of difference to that student’s confidence and future abilities.
As important as learning is for students I find it equal important for teachers to continue their education.Personally, I find it priceless to continue to learn new things and to try different methods in the classroom.Continued education can be found through seminars, extra classes, and even as simple as observing a veteran teacher.Not everything will work for you but then again, the best way to learn is through your mistakes, or even better, someone else’s.
Lastly, I find that being completely involved with a school is essential to being a great teacher.Teaching is more than just a job, it is a lifestyle.I have the opportunity to be involved in coaching currently.To me, being a bigger part of a school than just teaching is a great way to learn more about my students and the way they learn and act outside of the classroom.All of this knowledge could be used inside of the classroom to maximize their learning.