Since my educational journey will lead me to a school library rather than to a classroom, my philosophy focuses on reading. I believe that there is a reader in every child and to unlock that reader each child must be viewed as an individual so that their own unique passion for learning is ignited. I know that there has been a tremendous amount of research conducted that shows how reading can improve a child’s grades and test scores but reading is much more powerful than that. Reading alters you on a personal level so that you never view yourself or the world around you in the same way again. Possessing this ability to broaden children’s horizons is why I want to become a librarian and in order to be the kind of teacher and librarian who positively affects their students’ lives requires thoughtfulness and the ability to change on my part. This entails an honest and continual introspection of my biases and beliefs, matching my actions to my “talk” so that my library is inclusive and affirming of diversity, and maintaining a true desire to reach every child through literature.
The first step is to look honestly and objectively at myself because as Mrs. Fitzpatrick cautioned in her class, “…what you essentially are teaching your students is you.”, so it is important for me to truly know myself. Everything that has happened up to this point in my life has shaped me into the person that I am which directs the way in which I interact with others. This is particularly critical to me because I understand what an impact a teacher can have on their students, good and bad, and as I stated earlier I want to have a positive effect on my students. So, self-examination can aid in developing a better sense of self and a heightened awareness of my point of view in order to relate better to others.
Dorothy Allison’s article really resonated with me in describing how sometimes people are unaware that their life experiences are uniquely their own and have not been shared by
everyone (1994, p. 189). This helps to remind me to be more appreciative of the privileged life that I have led up to this point but to also to be sensitive to the reality that there are many others who have not shared the same advantages as I. It is uncomfortable to admit that before taking ELC 381 and reading some of The Institute of Education (Pearson 2006) chapters, I had not contemplated how wealth and class give an inequitable advantage to children before school even begins, and how there is truly no way to compensate for that. In fact I shared some of the sentiments regarding “the poor” that were expressed in the Allison chapter regarding how poor people were poor because of their own action or inaction (1994, p. 188). This opinion has been expressed repeatedly by other privileged parents at my children’s majority white, suburban elementary school regarding how those parents (the lower-income ones) did not seem concerned that their child had not turned in their...