One of the many goals that I have as an elementary educator is to provide students with the tools necessary to be responsible, successful adults. By successful, I mean happy adults. I do not think that the salary that you earn is any indication of success.
Passive acceptance of the Teacher’s wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows more than his pupils; It is moreover the way to win the favour of the teacher unless he is a very exceptional man. Yet the habit of passive acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes a man to seek and to accept a leader, and to accept as a leader whoever is established in that position. Bertrand Russell
I plan to create a classroom where students feel safe, confident, and proud. It should be a stable, structured atmosphere where routines are a part of the learning process. Unfortunately, many children do not have structure and routines at home and some, sadly, do not even feel safe in their own homes. “Each child’s social experiences and expectations are different; their concepts of intelligence and how they have experienced learning…are different; and their background and cultural values are likely different as well” (Murray & Jorgensen, 2007, p. 49). I hope to develop an understanding of my students by gathering information from parents or caregivers, resource teachers of special needs students, information from past teachers, and information from the students about their interests. This will provide me with the tools necessary to create lessons and resources that engage students while encouraging independence, introduce different levels of complexity while still being accessible to all, promote group work and discourse among the students and myself, encourage students to make connections, and encourage an enthusiasm for learning. A textbook can be an excellent guideline when it comes to standards but teaching is more of an interactive process.
By understanding our students as learners and as individuals, we can better develop lessons that meet the needs of all of our students it gives them a sense of accomplishment, achievement, and pride and can give them the confidence to tackle more difficult problems. I want my classroom to be a place where children are talking (about the subject matter), working with physical tools, and simply having fun learning, full of students who are excited, confident, and hungry for challenges.
To me, differentiation is the best way to achieve these goals. I am an advocate of differentiated instruction and plan to employ this method of instruction in my classroom. I feel that teaching through differentiated instruction is an empathetic approach to teaching. Many of the elements of differentiated instruction are in accordance with Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development. This social constructivist model of teaching and learning “deemphasize[s]...