“He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”
--Richard Henry Dann
It is impossible to ever cease to learn because complete knowledge can never be attained and it is the nature of human beings to constantly seek new information to better understand the world around them. As Aristotle simply stated, “All men by nature desire knowledge.” It is not solely by our own initiative that we obtain knowledge, but it is also attained through the direction of other people. This therefore places an enormous responsibility for certain individuals to step up as the primary sources of knowledge to further human understanding of the world. These individuals, the teachers, are given the responsibility and privilege of determining the future by educating its inhabitants, the children.
My personal desire is to be able to not only become a teacher, but to become an effective teacher capable of understanding the needs of my students to better educate them. I want to be able to effectively relate information to them in a way that they will not only understand it, but will be able to apply it later in life. My desire is to motivate students to want to learn and extend their own knowledge base. While this was my primary goal in my original philosophy statement, I have modified and more narrowly defined my philosophical views of learning and teaching as I have gathered more information of the two. My philosophy of education is most closely compatible with that of Essentialism, a school of thought which focuses on the necessity of traditional subjects before any other disciplines. Essentialism is characterized by the teacher as the center of the class and the ultimate authority figure. It is also characterized by specific beliefs about the objectivity of knowledge and truth.
The nature of knowledge and truth is not dependant upon an individual’s discovery of the two, but rather, is universal and absolute. The existence of truth long precedes the individual who may or may not find it. Knowledge is therefore also definite and unchanging; it will exist regardless of whether or not the individual becomes aware of it. As humans, we have an innate sense to find this preexisting knowledge although we all seek to find different aspects of it. This does not mean that the nature of the knowledge itself changes but that the nature of the student with regard to knowledge varies.
Every individual, whether a toddler or a senior, possesses an innate curiosity or desire to learn about the world around them, and will act upon their curiosity. All individuals will seek to extend their knowledge but will vary in what interests them. Even an infant, as Freud shows, will make an effort to understand their environment by putting objects in their mouth. As they acquire more knowledge, their interests will begin to differ from that of others, and they will use other means of gaining...