Children are our future. Teachers are an enormous part of cultivating generations of educated and kind human beings. I want to be able to leave society in good hands by helping raise the younger generation. The purpose of education is to have students become kind, knowledgeable, successful and independent adults. I want my students to be educated, love school, believe in themselves, and be listened to and cared for.
I believe that all people have the right to an education that is responsive, effective and empowering. This needs to be accomplished by first, providing children with a safe, comfortable, and secure environment where they will be able to take risks in order to learn and grow. All children need to be cared for academically, but it is also my job as a teacher to care for my students socially and emotionally. As a teacher, I will interact with my students in a warm, but business-like manner. I believe in listening to students, hearing them out, having fun, but also making sure that work and learning happens in my classroom.
I believe in short, effective teacher instruction followed by guided practice and then independent practice. Students always need to be exposed to modeling by the teacher, but it is their own practice that moves them forward and helps them master skills. A teacher will still be teaching during guided and independent practice through deep questioning and conferring. Through conferring, teachers will research and see what an individual student needs or excels in and help improve those skills or challenge and push them higher (sometimes strategy groups will come from this). This individualized and differentiated instruction is one of the most effective ways to teach students.
A quality curriculum is one that adheres to the student. It needs to be current with the times and the students’ needs. Within this curriculum, objectives should be deep and involved so students truly get a real understanding of a lesson, instead of just surface level understanding. Instruction needs to be engaging, authentic, relatable, and with clearly expressed importance. If all of these are accomplished, there will be more motivation for the students. Motivation and engagement can also be created through technology, videos, or simply teacher passion.
I know that I need to always have a plan while teaching, but flexibility is one of the most important things as a teacher. If students are not understanding, straying away from the lesson plan is necessary because I want to attend the needs of my students. This is why I believe in constant formative assessment. I need to know at all times where students are during my lesson. If students are not understanding something, I want to know right then and there so that I can guide them back on track. I refuse to let students fall behind. Formative assessments can include hand signals, turning and talking, and whiteboard work on the rug during guided practice. Every child is always working during my lessons, never leaving room for disengagement. Through these assessments, I can know where to go with my lesson at the present moment. Summative assessments are also necessary but should be much less frequent than formative assessments.
I also believe that students can learn a lot from each other. Students can come up with great ideas after given the responsibility to discuss and talk amongst their peers. Comprehension also increases after discussions. Student discussion should be happening every day in a classroom (with my personal passion for literacy, I will incorporate literature circles to promote reading and student discussion). That way, students will not always rely on the teacher but learn to be independent which will lead to great success in the future. Not only do children need to be able to have intellectual discussions with one another, but they need to learn how to interact in kind and respectful ways. Teachers will need to teach that and these are skills that will carry over through the rest of their lives.
Although teachers are an extremely important part in a child’s life, they are obviously not the only part. A successful learning community has the whole school, teachers, students, parents, and society working together to ensure success. I believe in constant communication between school and home. School instruction should be expanded to reach the home where parents support student learning. I believing in sharing successes of my students with their parents and there is always something to be proud of. The school and community can be great resources that support teaching and learning as well. I also want to create a globalized environment that stretches from our classroom to the world where children learn about other children in different states and in different countries. There is a lot to be learned outside of our classroom bubble.
By following my personal educational philosophy, I believe that I can create kind, knowledgeable, successful and independent adults. Through a Responsive Classroom students will gain the skills they need in order to be kind and good people. This will create a comfortable learning environment. Through engaging and effective instruction that will be differentiated and individualized, students will enjoy school and not be frustrated in my class. School will be an empowering place where they will gain the skills and knowledge they need I order to be successful in a global society.