My Teaching Philosophy
My parents raised me on the assumption that all children will live up to the expectations placed on them. Because of this, failure was never an option, but I also knew that I was never alone. As a teacher, my parents’ ideals will be my motivation. Children WILL live up to (or down to) the expectations placed on them. My goal will be for each student to achieve greatness at his or her ability level, knowing that his or her teacher believes that success is possible through hard work and perseverance.
In my classroom, the teacher, parents, and students will form a team. Each team member is essential in the education of the child. As the teacher, it will be my job to be the team leader and coach. I will be responsible for being sure that state standards are being met, instructing each student in a way he/ she learns best, and assigning projects or homework that reinforce the topics covered in class. The parents should act as assistant coaches and cheerleaders on our class team. Their mission will be to provide guidance and motivation. They will encourage their students by making sure homework is completed on time, staying engaged in their child’s education through close contact with the teacher, and showing interest in the student’s learning through participating in family projects that are assigned. Parents will be encouraged to stay motivated in their role through weekly progress reports and class newsletters. Learning is not a solitary activity, especially for elementary-aged children. It is my belief that parental involvement is essential to the education process. The student, of course, is the star player on our team. Each student will be expected to come to class every day on time and ready to learn. He or she will be expected to be prepared for class with the necessary supplies and have assignments turned in by the due date. Homework should be completed to the best of the student’s ability and be neatly done. Neatness counts on all projects as I believe that pride in one’s accomplishments is an important part of learning. By taking a team approach, the student is never alone on his or her educational journey. Together we can customize a learning plan as needed.
I believe that each child learns differently, so they need to be treated as individuals. This will be seen especially in how I provide homework assignments. Students will bring home work based on their needs. For example, children who are grasping a math concept quickly may bring home an assignment that will challenge them in that area. Students needing more help in this subject may have easier assignments that require parent participation in order to have the whole educational team involved. This will help ensure that an individual child is not missing essential building blocks to new material. In-class group work will be based on the same concept but will utilize the idea of peer tutoring. Children who have a better grasp on certain topics may help teach those who are not understanding. This will reinforce the concept to the student who is acting as the coach and will give the learning student a different perspective on the subject matter that I may not have provided. Another example of differentiated learning being used in my classroom will show in reading and writing assignments. When appropriate, students will choose an issue that interests them. It is my belief that children who have picked their topic will be more willing to put thought and effort into their work. This will give a better idea of the child’s skill in reading and writing as his or her thought process is not blocked by disinterest.
As much as I believe in letting a child explore life and learn through his or her curiosity, I also believe in firm discipline. The Josephson Institute Character Counts program (www.charactercounts.org) defines six traits of strong character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. These are the pillars on which my classroom management style will be built. Students will be encouraged to demonstrate the six pillars of character on both their school assignments and their interactions with others. Consequences for poor behavior will be as natural and consistent as possible. For example, a student who misses an assignment without a valid excuse will not be able to make up the points for that work. Discipline is, again, an area where students, teacher, and parents can work as a team to ensure success. Character Counts will be made an essential part of our class curriculum.
Children learn best in an environment that makes them feel safe, free of criticism, and free to be themselves. Our classroom walls will be decorated with posters that will encourage learning through graphics and inspirational quotes. Examples of exceptional work will be displayed. As students see their work on the walls they will be motivated to reach even higher goals. They will become excited not by the external rewards but by the internal self talk they hear.
Learning is a skill that cannot be done alone, but is highly individualized. Each student takes in information, excels, and has difficulties in various areas. By building an educational team including both the students and the parents, we can work together to achieve the highest amount of success. Failure is not an option.