editing disabled

It is my personal philosophy that every person has potential within them to successfully learn. Yet what qualifies as “learning” is a relative term and should be viewed as such when considering the purpose of education. For some students, their sense of accomplishment in learning is in the comprehension of a difficult theorem, while others gain the greatest sense of satisfaction from finally being able to tie their own shoes. In a broad sense, the purpose of teachers in education is to help students develop skills and knowledge, both practical and factual, while seeking to encourage the greatest individual development and social growth possible. This purpose should be pursued in an environment which is caring and comforting while also being challenging and motivating. Physically, such a space would be arranged dynamically, yet comfortable without being soporific; a place within which there is openness of thoughts and a strong sense of respect, not only for others personally and intellectually, but also for one’s own abilities and self.

I believe a dynamic space is necessary in education because I strongly feel that, while every person deserves the same opportunities to learn through public education, the way in which education is delivered cannot and must not be uniform if we hope to reach more than a select few. I strongly believe that many students first need to learn through concrete, physical experiences, followed by more conceptual uses, and later by abstract applications. I also support implementing multiple modalities of teaching and helping students process information in education. Personally, I am a very visual learner, but I understand and respect that there are others who learn through verbal, kinesthetic, musical and other forms of learning. Therefore, I feel that a subject matter should be presented in as many varying styles as is reasonable to foster the most plentiful opportunities for different learners. I additionally believe that all students must be given the opportunity to learn. That may mean changes in the classroom environment to allow for assistive technology or other physical devices students need to aide in their learning, or it may mean that a student has special needs which require the classroom to be run differently in order to meet their full learning potential.

Along the idea of meeting the needs of students in individualized ways through instruction, I have grown to understand the unique management needs of student through my courses, practicum placement, and experiences as a student teacher. At first, my perspective was strongly set that rules are rules and they are established for the class as a whole. But experience has come to show me that treating everyone the same to be "fair" is actually not fair at all. Students are all individual people with different abilities and limits. I cannot expect a student with ADHD to be able to strictly adhere to the same rules as a typically developing student. And I have come to find out that, unlike I had always felt, students really can handle these differences in treatment. Talking to them and working with them toward understanding others allows them to accept that another student may need more time working than they do, or that another student might need their own special behavior plan. Taking this knowledge with me into my teaching career is something which I believe will make the students in my future classroom thrive even more.

As a teacher, I feel it is one of my primary duties to encourage students’ motivation for learning through the dynamic environment I work to create with them. By presenting them with multiple forms of learning, I can attempt to connect with what fundamentally motivates their own excitement for learning and then guide them through their ideas while innately imparting knowledge, skills, and values. I also believe that it is absoultely necessary that I know my students in order to know what motivates them. If what I offer to one class of students holds no interest for a different class, I am failing as a teacher. I cannot merely try to make the students fit what I expect. I believe it is my responsibility to constantly assess and evaluate what works best for my students. My effectiveness as a teacher is reflected through my students' interest in learning and their ability to use what they have learned. I want to create the best environment in which my students can learn, and I feel that I will know my students have learned what I have taught them when they can engage in their learning with me and one another and present new thoughts grown from their knowledge. This allows students to act as participants and sounding-boards for each other in the classroom, instead of mere recipients of facts and ideas.

If I were to have complete control over my curriculum, I would still seek to attain the goals of the institution for which I worked because I respect an education which involves the fostering of knowledge. However, in my ideal situation, this would only be a portion of what my curriculum would seek to impart to my students. It is vital that children also gain the kind of social and psychological support they need to flourish from their personal environments of home, family, and friends, but I believe that is unfortunately not the case for many children. Making the assumption that those needs are to be only met outside the classroom is to neglect the deeper needs of the students. As a result, I feel that there are moralistic values which should be imparted to children within a school setting. This is not to say that these ideas should be presented in a formal lesson, but I feel it is useful and proper to purposely integrate them into education. Such concepts as responsibility, honesty, effort, and, as aforementioned, respect are only a few of the concepts which can be incorporated into children’s lives within the classroom to allow them to grow as persons, not just students. I especially see this being important within the elementary education setting, where many children are having their first major interactions with others and learning the skills they need as they develop. In the end, I fully believe that education should advance an individual as a whole and not merely lay out "the facts" for consumption.