My Educational Philosophy

The American public has entrusted the education and development of its children to teachers, and I take this trust seriously. Regardless of cultural or ethnic background or economic status, the American people want the schools to teach academic content.  Everyone has the right to an excellent education, and as an educator, I will help students attain that education.  The role of a teacher in students' lives is a significant one, and my beliefs are fundamental in creating my educational philosophy.   Great teachers are the cornerstone of an excellent education, and I have great respect for every individual I teach.  

My educational philosophy is composed of six fundamental components.  First, my educational philosophy is based upon the concept that we as educators, regardless of subject specialization, are teachers of life.  Life is full of challenges, and we should learn from those challenges.  Learning is a life-long process.  Our most important duty is to prepare our students to develop the necessary skills that will lead them to a productive and successful adulthood.  I constantly challenge my students to reach new heights and to continually challenge themselves. 

Second, my view of knowledge directly impacts my method of teaching.  I view knowledge as problem-solving skills so students will be empowered to understand conceptually and to influence their environment.  I challenge students to develop their intelligence and talents as fully as possible.  I teach them to recognize their individual learning styles, to take responsibility for their own education, and to teach themselves and othersBecause I feel so deeply in acquiring knowledge, I believe that it is important to share my enthusiasm for learning with my students. Hopefully, in return they will begin to value learning and realize that learning continues outside the classroom and for life.

Learning is the basis for personal growth, and teaching is one opportunity to learn from others.  Students possess the desire to learn and share.  They each have a unique view of the world to offer.  I encourage an exchange of ideas between myself and my students.  I always consider myself to be a student while I am teaching, so I am the best student in the room.  Students have a wealth of experiences to share, and I want my students to know that I am eager to learn from them also.  I believe that the biggest injustice that an educator can commit is to be complacent.  Every experience has something to offer us, and if we continually strive to better ourselves as a result of that experience then we are truly educators.  "The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know." - Socrates

As students accept a greater amount of responsibility and become more active in their own education, they will ultimately learn more.  My emphasis on "learning to learn" and student ownership of learning are related to my belief that students and teachers should learn together.  I try to help students make an academic and social connection to their university by using learning communities with an integrated curriculum.  I want to create a synergy between the learning communities.  Each student is blessed with individual gifts and talents; a school that engages students in their abilities in and out of the classroom provides the optimal educational environment to be challenged and to develop.  I believe that the very best teaching practices include teaching with the studentsí interests in mind, setting high expectations, and balancing instructional methods.  If these practices are executed properly, one outcome would be that students find learning interesting and challenging.  I think when students work together as a team they are learning academically and socially, and they are exposed to the diversity of fellow students.  I believe teachers can address studentís differences by teaching that uniqueness is a good thing and not everyone is the same.  I try to integrate thinking, feeling and hands on work into lessons.  I believe that students should be active and learn to solve problems by reflecting on their life experiences. 

My third educational philosophy component is based upon a belief in fairness.  I believe every student should be treated fairly.  Every student should receive what they need to gain an education.  They will receive an even amount of time, energy, and effort from me both in and out of the classroom.  I give every student an equally proficient education, and in doing this, sometimes I have to treat students differently.  Some studentsí need more from me than others do, so sometimes fair means I extend myself further to those students who need me more.  I am there for all of my students and their individual needs.  All students should be treated fairly and should have the same access to an education.  I want all students to know that knowledge is power, and that they are responsible for their own education.

My fourth component centers on my students and creating an appropriate learning environment in and out of the classroom.  It is my job as an educator to create a safe and positive learning environment and to facilitate students taking responsibility for their own education.  I strive to create a place where my students know I sincerely care about them.  I want them to benefit from my experience, knowledge, and interests, but, even more, I want to teach them to find and satisfy their own passions.  I encourage students to search for their passions, and I will help guide them on their search to success and happiness.  My door is always open to my students.  I do not want to be strictly an authority figure.  I am there for advising and mentoring; for listening to their needs and problems; and for an adultís point of view.  As a mentor, I will display strong values and maintain high expectations in order to have a strong impact on my students.  I want to be a guide on their journey to adulthood and to inspire and support their dreams while fostering a sense of belonging.  I must exemplify professionalism, charity, and civility.  I want to foster mutual respect between my students and me.

My beliefs about students greatly influence how I teach.  Every teacher has unique experiences, attitudes about teaching methods, and views on how to teach.  I believe that all students are capable of learning.  My philosophy encompasses a variety of aspects, that combined, will create a positive, student-centered atmosphere in and out of my classroom.  I want each student to notice my enthusiasm for teaching and learning when they are a part of my class.  I work to make my classroom environment open, friendly, fun, challenging and inspiring.  I try to cultivate an innate curiosity and love of learning in my students.  I want them to discover a passion for learning.  By creating an encouraging, orderly classroom environment, involving discussions and group work, I will encourage students to become successful learners and problem solvers.  I teach with studentsí goals and interests as part of the curriculum.  I have very positive attitudes and views, and I love working with students.   

My core educational goals extend beyond the academic curriculum into individual character and personality, including social, emotional and intellectual components of my students.  I believe that human beings are social animals and have a unique biological affinity for learning, enculturation, communication, and knowing the difference between right and wrong.   I provide a safe place for students while they are away from their home.  I want my students to feel free to talk to me about anything.  If I am not equipped to give my students the appropriate advice or support they need, I will encourage them to talk with counselors and social workers about their problems.  I hope to give them a feeling of security by being available to my students.  I believe teachers can best help students learn by paying attention to them and truly caring about them.  I go the extra steps to let my students know that I care.  I base teacher-student relationships on trust and helpfulness.  It is important that teachers convey positive attitudes toward their students and believe that they can learn and develop a friendship, yet still maintain respect for one another.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to be respected, develop their unique strengths, recognize and modify weaknesses, and become a lifelong contributing and active citizen.  Students and educators should be responsible citizens, appreciate our wide diversity, and value individual differences.  We should embrace diversity and form partnerships in and out of the classroom.  Teachers have a role as a bridge to the community and to be active in their own community.  Teachers are a very big part of the studentís lives because they are the ones who are not only teaching, but also demonstrating how to become a good citizen.  We are all teachers and learners everyday of our lives. 

I hope to create an emotional experience within my students whereby they develop knowledge, have a positive self esteem and internal motivation.  The knowledge they acquire will be goal oriented and curriculum driven.  The way I accomplish this will vary depending on the uniqueness of each class and the individuals in the class.

Finally, professional development is required for any teacher who seeks continuous self-improvement.  I am facilitator in the learning process and serve as a role model.  I have an ongoing responsibility to increase my knowledge of both content and pedagogy, and to continually reassess my actions and programs in response to a constantly changing environment.

As an educator I need to be keenly aware of the role I play in a student's life.  Life offers an infinite realm of learning opportunities, each catalyzing personal growth and expanded knowledge.  As an educational facilitator, I need to be a flexible role model who demonstrates an unconditional, consistent acceptance of all my students and continuously seeks to facilitate an education that matches each individual.  In my classroom, I will provide a safe, student-centered environment which fosters a respect of individual self-concept and learning style.  Everyone has a significant contribution to offer to this world.  Wherever I can, I will assist students in their pursuit of their identity adjacent to the broad goals of education.

My educational philosophy has been shaped by many things.  I rely on my philosophic foundation to help me build both content and pedagogy.  It is important to have strong beliefs, grounded in sound theory to guide our teaching.  It is equally important to remain open minded to new trends and techniques that may benefit our students.  An educational philosophy is not static; it changes with time and experience, and I will continually reflect, examine, and refine what I believe and why I believe it.  I believe that my philosophy and the way that I understand things will change with the knowledge that I gain.  With this change I am open to anything and my views will be flexible and as open to opinions as I can be.  I know that if my students believe that they can do anything and dream, they can conquer a new goal everyday, then I will have succeeded as a teacher in my classroom.  In conclusion I believe that every person can walk through the door eager to learn and walk out ready to teach others with new, bright, and broad horizons.  A profession which impacts the lives of so many people demands nothing less than my best efforts.