As I gain new perspectives my Teaching Philosophy will continually change, but right now this is were I stand.
Educational and Teaching Philosophy
I believe learning as a way in which students attain concepts and information, interact with them, and store them in their mind for future recall. In order for students to be able to learn successfully they must be willing to overcome the sense of not knowing and be able to jump into the unknown with the confidence that they will come out in the end with a new mastery of knowledge and understanding. When students are successful in learning I will be able to see them apply their mastery onto other concepts that relate to what they have mastered. In mathematics, learning occurs constantly in a lesson, whether it is a student learning a totally new concept, a student learning a new way to solve a problem, or a student just understanding a concept that they had never quite understood before. If students were to use what I said about mastery, then becoming a master in mathematics can be quite easy because students are constantly asked to learn one concept and apply it to the next concept before moving on.
As a practicing teacher, I feel as though my job is to help students strive to be the best people they can be. I will understand that all students make mistakes, but those mistakes can be turned into great lessons that I can share with my students to encourage them to continue to learn and grow as a person. I do not believe that my job is to simply teach a lesson and then leave my students to understand what I just taught them on their own. As a teacher I need to be there to support them in extracurricular activities, life problems, and where they end up in the future. I have experienced teachers who have involved themselves in what went on in my life as a way to get to know me better as a person, not a just a student, but I have also had teachers who knew nothing about me outside of what I could do in the classroom. The latter seems to be too impersonal for me; I want my students to know that I actually care about what goes on in their lives beside school.
I want my students to be able to take what I teach them in the classroom and be able to transfer it to the real world. I feel as though that is what students struggle with most in mathematics— not being able to relate it to their everyday lives and questioning “when will I ever use this again?” But I also want my students to look up to me as a role model because that is what I would ideally like to be in their lives, someone who they can look up to, but not be afraid to be critical of how I choose to teach them. I want my students to not be afraid to tell me how they learn best and if my teaching methods need to change to fit their individual needs. I also hope that my students will learn to be accountable for their behaviours and actions, knowing that some actions can be forgiven, but some need to be recognized so that they can change their actions or improve them.
Interacting with students every day was one of the main reasons I chose to become a teacher. I want to be able to go to work every day and have fun with my students, but in order to have fun with my students, I need to make my lessons captivating and interesting for the students. I want them to experience how mathematics is actually a fun topic if taught in a way that is not all about memorizing formulas and plugging in numbers. In my classroom I want students and other teachers to see the passion that I have for mathematics and my students. They can see this by how I will be able to adapt my lessons to fit my individual learners’ needs. It will not be easy in any sense, but if I work at finding adaptations that work for my class things will run a lot more smoothly. I feel as though if both my students and I are willing to adapt our usual learning̸ teaching then we can all learn and grow together as a class. I see that as a very beneficial way to run a classroom, grow as individuals and then come together and grow as a class.
Assessment and evaluation can be quite critical in students’ lives, something I was unaware of until lately. I use to think assessment and evaluation were the same thing because that was what they were in my high school experience. Tests were given, marked, and handed back with little feedback and a grade attached to them. However, after learning more about the difference between the two I now see the importance in differentiating the two. Having said that, I now believe that students’ need as much assessment as possible in their classes, the more feedback students can receive, the more they can revise and hand in an assignment or task to their best of their ability. Students’ are not perfect and therefore they should have the opportunity to edit their work after it receives some sort of critique and feedback. Assessment and evaluation should also vary within a classroom; it should not consist of just one or two things. They should also be adapted to fit the needs of your learners, you will not have the same students’ every year so assessment and evaluation should change as your classes do because no two assessments and evaluations will work for different classes. Types of assessments and evaluations that I have seen as quite useful are: entry and exit slips, journals, presentations, self and peer assessment, portfolios, and tests̸ quizzes. Though I have not mastered all of these assessments and evaluations, they are the ones that stand out to me in being able to give students the most feedback.
Alongside assessment and evaluation of students work, I also believe that their behaviours should also somehow be assessed. Maybe not so much evaluated as it is hard to give a student a grade based on their behaviour, but I do think it should be recognized and feedback should be given to students because it is a teachers job to help students become engaged citizens and that does not often transfer through grades. I think students need to be accountable for their actions and by being accountable they need someone to notice when their actions are appropriate or not. The actions that I think students should be assessed on are: whether or not they show up to class on time, if they hand in their assignments on the assigned deadline, how they interact with their peers, and whether or not they plagiarize their work. In my classroom I want to be able to create a relationship with my students where I can feel comfortable enough to tell them when their actions need to improve and when they do not. I want my students to feel as if I am doing this for their own benefit and not because I have to because I am the teacher and what I say goes. I think a good way to measure this type of assessment would be to keep a log of each students actions, it would not need to be written in every day, but frequent enough that I could get a good idea of where students are at.
In order for me to continue to grow as a teacher I need to be willing to put the time and effort it takes to grow. I have to take full advantage of professional development days that are offered to me and not just go to get away from the classroom, but go with the intention of coming out a more knowledgeable teacher. Using my assessments and evaluations that I give students will also help to facilitate my growth as I can use them to see where I need to adapt and modify my teaching based on students understandings of the lessons. In my beginning years as a teacher I think I will be constantly changing and adapting my teaching methods to see what works for my students and me. I know that growing as teacher will be an ongoing process throughout my entire career I gain new experiences and knowledge so my philosophy will constantly experience changes and adaptations.