As I grow and learn as a future educator, I realize that teaching is so much more than I could have ever imagined. Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. My mother and grandmother were both teachers, so I feel as if it is simply in my blood. I have worked with children since I was ten: babysitting, teaching dance, and running summer camps. I have been told I simply “have a way” with children that just makes communicating and connecting with them easy for me. However, after gaining some experience, I learned that teaching requires so much more than simply loving children and wanting to help them learn.
What I would first like to define are my thoughts on the purpose of education. We are told we are supposed to prepare children for citizenship, and to teach them the skills and knowledge to live on their own and have the life they always wanted, to obtain a college degree, get the job they want, etc. All of this requires educators to teach their students literacy and to help them become critical thinkers, but recently I read a quote by Noam Chomsky that really stuck with me and encompassed all of this, plus so much more. The quote read: “Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own”. If students have the ability to learn on their own, they have gained the knowledge, skills, and insight necessary to become successful citizens and independent men and women who can achieve anything their hearts desire. If a teacher can teach a student to learn on their own, they have succeeded as an educator.
After reading quotes like this and observing many different teachers and teaching styles, I have come to learn that the underlying reason that I want to teach is that I truly believe that every child can succeed and learn if they are simply given the opportunity to do so. This requires me, the teacher, to take the time to get to know each and every student (including both their learning styles and information about their families), keep open communication with their parents, learn what their hobbies are, and then apply all of this information and use it to engage the students in a way that will help them succeed. In my classroom, I will take the time to ask students questions about their hobbies, and their favorite things to do, and, without asking too directly, questions about their personal life or household environment so I can understand each student better. I will implement their personal experiences and connections to the curriculum by giving examples they can relate to, have them write about topics that pertain to them such as their personal narratives, and related social studies to their own backgrounds whenever the opportunity arises. I will also plan numerous parent-teacher conferences, make phone calls to the house, and make sure it is understood that I have an open-door policy for emails and phone calls.
All in all, I believe that the only teaching philosophy I can write on paper and deeply devote my time to trying to accomplish this: teaching requires learning and growth. As musician Phil Collin’s quotes in his lyrics, “In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.” The students need to learn and grow as students, individuals, friends, and members of society, but the teachers also to do the same. Teachers need to learn from their peers, their mentors, and most importantly their students. Perhaps the principle lesson I have learned is that as a teacher, you need to be flexible. I have come to realize that nothing ever goes as planned, but the best teachers are the ones who are flexible and able to adapt his or her plans each and every day. In the years to come, I want to teach through curiosity, caring, and encouragement. I hope to teach fearlessly, entirely, respectfully, expressively, emotionally, and with love. If I can encompass all of these qualities, along with having the ability to remain adaptable and understand that everything is a learning experience, I believe that I will be the best teacher I can possibly be.