January 22, 2008

My Philospohy on Education

“Teaching is about making a dent in the world so that the world is different than it was before you practiced your craft.” ~Stephen Brookfield

Teaching is my passion in life. I consider it to be the most extraordinary responsibility there is, short of parenthood. I take my job very seriously and take every opportunity to shepherd my students towards excellence. Teaching is a chance to inspire and empower students to help them realize their potential for greatness. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to develop the minds of my students and to provide them with a learning experience that transforms their ordinary ways of thinking; this then gives them a chance to go beyond what they ever thought they were capable of. Teaching really is a work of art.

The learning process is unique and individual. Within each group of students there is a diversity that allows them to be the individual learner they are. This presents the challenge of every teacher. As an educator, I address this challenge by taking the time to learn about my students. As I do, I am then able to discover the best ways to make the material relevant to their current situations, in turn, fostering their learning throughout the year. It is essential that students become engaged with the material presented and are able to perceive the subject matter to be relevant to their own lives. By accomplishing this, the students then begin to be transformed by the material they learn; change can then take place.

The methods of my teaching practices are numerous. I do not teach one specific way every time I step into my classroom. I am convinced that learning is a complex, yet individual process that must take place within each child. I foster student learning by the implementation of various methods including physical activities, hands-on assignments, written projects, and sometimes lectures. Each of these methods is used to develop the student’s abilities and allows them to learn in their own distinct way. In one particular lesson taught to a second grade class, I desired to teach them about various key figures throughout American history. Rather than explain to the students what role each individual played in history, I allowed them to “become” that person. Each child chose a key figure, researched, and then wrote a speech, pretending to be that figure. After much practice I rented costumes for each child to portray their chosen “American” and we put on a Wax Museum for the public to enjoy. This activity allowed for all students to become involved as it permitted each student to achieve at their own level, and in their own way. This is simply one example of the many ways that I have allowed for my students to take an active role in their learning.

In my teaching experience I have discovered what teaching is not. It is not me, the teacher, standing in front of my students and imparting information to them as if they desired to be given my knowledge. Teaching, however, is about cultivating curiosity within the mind of a student, encouraging them to grow, empowering them to reach higher than they thought possible, inspiring them to strive for excellence, challenging them to pursue their goals, and encouraging and uplifting their spirit to move forward in the face of difficulty. All of this is my job as a teacher and I strive to see these qualities displayed in each child that walks into my classroom.

Teaching is a position that should not be taken lightly. This title demands a high level of responsibility; responsibility that I take very seriously. I am in charge of fostering the minds of the future generation and challenging them to go beyond what seems possible. I work very hard to maintain the same level of excellence that I require of my students. I recognize the power that comes with the role that I play in the lives of the children I teach; that is why it is so important to always be mindful of my actions and my attitudes. I do not require anything of my students that I first do not require of myself, as the position of a teacher also includes the position of a role model. I strive to be the kind of teacher that is worth looking up to. I do all that I can to continue to grow in my abilities and to make sure that I use my talents to the best of my potential. I know that being a successful teacher is up to me, and I take that challenge to heart. The mark of a successful teacher is not how many students have passed through her classroom over the years, but how many lives have been changed in the process.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That...was amazing!

rachel young said...

WOW.
Ms. La Rue. Your such a great writer. I love that I can relate to things you write about.
All of the class loves you!!
Even the kids who dont behave love you!
THanks for being an awsome techer, Love
Rachel

Anonymous said...

Nothing is random including the fact that I happened upon your site today. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this blog. Couldn't have said it better. Go write that book!