My Philosophy of Teaching
Teaching is a daunting task that I do not intend to take lightly. Becoming a teacher has been a dream of mine for several years. I always knew that teaching would be the career for me, especially when I began working in the school system as a substitute secretary. I loved working in the school environment; coming in contact with children everyday made me realize how much I would enjoy teaching a classroom full of students.
Teachers play such an important role in a child’s life, sometimes being their only source of encouragement and support. As a teacher, I want to know my students – their personality, learning style, and academic level, so I can meet their needs and create the best learning environment possible.
The definition of the word “educate” is: “to develop the faculties and powers of (a person) by instruction or schooling.” I believe the key word in this definition is “power.” As a teacher, I must find several ways to unleash that power in a child’s mind; I must motivate, inspire, and encourage my students. “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.” (William B. Yeats)
The purpose of education is to teach the basics of knowledge and to challenge each individual to learn. The realization that I will have the power to make a difference in a child’s life is sometimes overwhelming. This remarkable fact gives me a stronger purpose – to be a positive role model for my students. Being an effective teacher is truly an awesome responsibility.
Instead of seeing students as partially full vessels waiting to be filled, teachers should conceive their work as creating learning situations where students can build their own knowledge through an active learning process. This perspective, is known as constructivism, and has become an influential part of education. I want to be a constructivist teacher by actively involving students in real situations, focusing on students’ perceptions and points of view, and most importantly, valuing the process of thought in my students rather than on the answer or product. I want my classroom to be an active place with many opportunities for discovery and experimentation, a place where I can be a fellow learner instead of merely a fact giver.
It is difficult for me to determine what philosophy of education I am leaning toward. I believe that I will develop my philosophy through experience – learning what works with students and what doesn’t work with students. However, I agree with many of the Essentialist goals and practices. The American educator William Bagley originally popularized the term essentialism as an educational philosophy in the 1930’s. The philosophy itself had been the dominant approach to education in America from the beginnings of American history but began to be criticized as being too rigid to prepare students adequately for adult life. The 1983 report from the President’s Commission...