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Friday, August 23, 2013

My Teaching Philosophy 2013

At the advent of another school year I feel the need to give life to my thoughts about my teaching philosophy.

At the core of teaching is the sharing of knowledge. It is the passing of knowledge, unlocking mysteries, uncovering gems of wisdom, and a forum where every student will want to learn. In order for this to be achieved, basic principles must be established. It is basic principles that form my philosophy.

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care"

If I could sum up how I feel about teaching in one phrase I would use this simple yet profound thought. In order to get to the core of teaching(sharing knowledge, passing information, etc...), trust must be established. I firmly believe that you can get any, and I do mean any, student to do anything if they believe you care. I don't care what their circumstances are, their past educational experience, or ability level; they can learn and will if they believe you care. There is only one way to show you care and that is to DO it.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

The Golden Rule of Life pertains the same in a teaching setting as it does in any other facet of life. As a teacher it is your responsibility to model this as perfectly as you can. This means you cannot play favorites. This means you must treat all students and staff with the same respect you are hoping for in return. There is no better way of ensuring respect for you than by giving it to your students. You can demand respect all you want, but the teacher who truly as respect is the one who lives the Golden Rule. They will never have to beg for it, as it will come back to them as often as they give it out.

"You can't teach what you don't know."

Teachers should be the best example of how to learn. They should be passionate and actively engaged in learning. There are times when you can get by not fully understanding parts of the curriculum but that's all your're doing, just getting by. And if you are only 'getting by' then what are your students doing? How can you possibly assess them if you aren't certain of the answers yourself? The best teachers infuse their passion for learning to the students by sharing and being a co-learner with them. All facets for preparedness go with this statement, for if you don't know what you are doing, how can you prepare to do it?

"Never, never, never, give up."

The phrase made famous by the indefatigable Winston Churchill means that you believe that all students can learn and that there is a way to get through to them. The impact for positive and negative a teacher can have on a student is unparalleled. Other than parents themselves few individuals can instill the qualities of hard work and persistence like a teacher can. Again, you can't play favorites. You have to be upbeat and demand the best of your students. For if you won't, then who will? People follow those that inspire them and this is where teachers can be instrumental in teaching character to students; a will to achieve their very best; and to never give up no matter the odds. This is why I love being a teacher. It's like watching that inspiring part of your favorite movie over and over again. The part where it looked like hell itself would engulf the character, but because of perseverance he/she endures and beats the odds.

There isn't a more satisfying feeling as a teacher than seeing your students achieve when no one thought they could. Its priceless. As is teaching. Students always remember the teacher that cared. In the most humble way I can say this, "Why be forgotten when you can be revered forever?"

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