Q: What is your Philosophy of Teaching?
The last time I knew the answer to this was when I was student teaching. The realities of great teaching are extremely difficult to pin down. We are constantly learning new things about how the brain works and how that impacts learning. Our society continues to change and that creates new challenges to overcome. It would take a book to fully articulate my philosophy of teaching. This is as brief as I could make it:
This I Believe:
· Professionalism, a commitment to excellence, passion, compassion, and love are the attributes all successful teachers must possess.
· In order to effectively manage a classroom (and without that, not much learning takes place) a teacher must be fair, firm, and consistent.
· Fairness is not making sure everyone is treated the same. Fairness is making sure each child is given the tools they need to succeed.
· Being firm is not being unkind. It is about setting clear boundaries. It is about not being wishy-washy, not sending mixed signals.
· Consistency is the most important part of the mix. A child needs to know that you mean what you say – every time you say anything. They need for school to be a safe place where things do not change and they know what to expect.
· All children can learn, but there are often other needs you must meet before the learning can really take hold. We must first be sure a child’s physical and emotional needs are met. Children must be fed and feel safe before they can really learn. When you are hungry, who cares about multiplication?
· We are not here to be our students’ friend. We are here to give them a chance to learn. We are the adult in the room. Too many teachers worry too much about being liked. It isn’t our job to be liked; it is our job to meet needs. When we truly love our students, we will meet their needs, and they will love us. Even when they don’t always like our decisions. Teaching is not a popularity contest.
· Without curiosity, learning will soon cease. Ignite curiosity.
· Collaboration is essential. Talk, ask questions, listen, learn, read, research. This job is too hard to do alone. Work with your peers. Learn from your administrators. Partner with the parents. Ask questions. Listen to them. They know and love your student more than you do, even when it doesn’t always seem like it. Learn from your students most of all.
I could go on. I do love so much talking about teaching. But, I think this has gotten long enough. Hope it’s not too much.
What about you, friends. From your experience, what do you think makes a good teacher?