My Teaching Philosophy

     Sometimes all that is needed to make a dream come true are the right tools. I plan to be an educator who shows students the possibilities and provides the tools to make those dreams come true. During my lifelong learning experience, there have been many people who have inspired me and believed in me and who have given me the courage and tools that I needed to make my dreams come true. I want to be that person for every student’s life that I touch.

     The world faces many problems today---large and small. We need problem solvers, team players, citizens who are thoughtful, empathic, helpful, respectful and considerate so that each person can contribute as problem solver in an individual and unique way. As a society and as educators we should never lose sight of the goal that education should be for the betterment of humankind and the planet.

     I believe every child is born with a natural curiosity to explore this world. There is also an innate desire to be helpful to others. I think the natural propensities we are born with can be nurtured or stifled depending on the learning environments provided both in and outside the classroom. I think that educators are just one of the many life teachers that surround a child, allowing that child to grow to full potential. I plan to search for and use any and all the resources available to help students develop and reach for their dreams. I would like to operate as part of the team that surrounds the children and call the other team players---parents, school administrators, corporate and business partners to action when necessary to assist the students in accomplishing goals.

     As a teacher, I plan to offer a classroom environment that engages the students in project based learning. I’m a lifelong learner myself, and there is nothing more exciting to me than exploring a subject and learning new things. This is not the easiest form of instruction as a teacher but I believe it provides a safe environment for children to learn problem solving skills, make mistakes, and develop the tools that they will need to go onto further education and beyond. There’s a lot of talk today regarding “teaching to the test.” While I feel that some form of assessment is required, I hope that the future of assessing our schools includes ways of assessing project based learning. For example, by working with problem solvers at the university level; value and collaboration can be added including real life assessments to ascertain how well the students are mastering the tools they need to have to problem solve and work in the future. But in the end, if I must teach to the test, so to speak, I will have students mastering the curriculum through projects that help students own that learning as their very own.

     I strongly believe in Bloom’s taxonomy. I feel that, until just recently, the focus of education in the United States has been too much on the knowledge and comprehension rungs of the ladder and not enough on application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Koch, 2014). I think that this is one of the main reasons that we are behind the rest of the world in educating our children. I base this on my belief in the theory and also on real life observations of two Brazilian exchange students that I had in my home a few years ago. Even with the language barriers, the Brazilian students did well in school and seemed to be unchallenged by everything except U.S. history. The Brazilians seemed to have mastered the bottom rungs of Bloom’s ladder by that time in their education and back at home in Brazil would have been studying subjects much in the way that learning is conducted at a higher, university level in the U.S.

     Because my project based learning teaching style may contribute to classroom management issues, I plan to begin each year with an outline of expectations that hinge on mutual respect and consideration of and by all. I plan to model this expectation so that students can learn from example. I think that consistent enforcement of this policy will provide an atmosphere of learning and teamwork with little management interruptions. 

     I plan to keep on learning and growing in the field. While I’m substitute teaching I am constantly amazed by the unique and exciting ways that teachers bring learning alive in their classrooms. There is a lot to learn from other teachers. For example, I recently substituted for a teacher who had developed and taught a cheerleader type routine for phonics. Not one child was lost in the mastering of this cheer (and, as a result, the subject), it covered most of the phonics needed for that grade level, it was fun to do and to watch, and got the students physically moving in the classroom, which is something I believe we could do a lot more of for health reasons. I also plan to keep on learning and keep on growing. As always, I will be reading and taking more classes in areas where I can learn to help my students. Whether it’s learning new ways of doing projects, mastering sign language for a deaf student, or learning Spanish, I plan to do what it takes to connect with and inspire every student that enters my classroom to develop and follow their dreams.   

Portfolio INTASC Standards Work: