Philosophy of Education
I spent some time looking back upon my time in elementary, junior high and high school and thinking about all of my favorite teachers, and what exactly made them such outstanding, inspiring educators. I came to several conclusions. A good teacher is one who can not only show a student how to add four and seven, but also help them see why it is important for them to know how to do so. A good teacher is one who can explain to a child the process of photosynthesis while at the same time instilling an appreciation for the beauty of a flower. A good teacher is one who can accept and cherish a hug from a child and conveniently overlook the muddy handprints left on her skirt. I feel that successful teaching is made of several components that build upon and complement each other. Love and discipline, understanding and encouragement, and patience and persistence constitute a pyramid for the educational process.
The foundation of teaching should be love and discipline. In order to promote a safe environment that is conducive to learning, teachers must establish classroom rules that are few but fair. It is the teacher's responsibility to enforce those rules without prejudice or without favoring one student over another. I agree with the existentialist philosophy that students should be taught to take full responsibility for their own actions. However, discipline--or any other facet of teaching, for that matter--is useless without love. It has been said that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. I believe that has a definite application in the field of teaching. A teacher who does not show his or her students that rules and regulations are for their benefit, not to stifle or discourage them, is one who will fail to really reach them on a lasting or greater level. In accordance with the philosophy of behaviorism, teachers should not only impartially enforce the rules, but also reward students for good behavior. In a successful classroom, great emphasis should be placed on the child's positive actions, rather than only stressing what he or she does wrong, It is important to let students know that you appreciate their efforts to abide by the rules and are proud of them for doing their part.
Love intermixed with discipline is important in that it helps create a kind, orderly environment that fosters every other aspect of successful education. For every one time a list of rules is found in my classroom, I want to hang twenty examples of student artwork, or several brightly decorated bulletin boards that stimulate my students' interest and creativity. I hope my students will understand that my first priority is to care for them and seek their best interests, and because of that I will do my best to give them a safe, fun, an pleasant place to learn the tools necessary for academic achievement.
The next block of the teaching pyramid is understanding and encouragement. An imperative aspect of it...