When one sees the term “philosophy,” what goes through his mind and what does he know? More importantly, what should he know? How should his teaching reflect the philosophy which is the foundation for his teaching? These questions are extremely important when looking at my future as a middle school teacher. Helping students realize their potential, set goals, and achieve those goals is a priceless incentive that teachers can attain. When it is broken down, teachers have one of the more important jobs in society. Not only must we give them the information they need to become successful in their future, both in education and in the workplace, but we also must give them the tools needed to excel as individuals.
While the word philosophy can be rather intimidating, it is important to figure what it means to you. My philosophy is one that intends to help students become everything that they wish to be and find the talent and potential that they did not know they have. In order to be effective as a teacher in any grade level, school district, and setting, you have to be passionate about what you do. An effective teacher is one who is able to challenge the students who “get it” and reach the students who do not.
In order to reach those students, it is crucial that we understand that all students do not learn using the same style and will not all learn at the same pace. A teacher must always be flexible and be able to adapt to any situation that may occur. Most middle school students will not be able to learn with simply lecture; we also need to provide them the opportunity to learn in different ways. Let them work in a group to make a poster as opposed to writing a paper, hold a mock trial instead of talking about an important case during the Civil Rights Movement, or simply give students different options to complete an assignment. Giving students a sense of responsibility and choice can go a long way in their education.
It is equally important to promote a classroom environment which is both engaging and interactive. In order to have a student-centered classroom that is engaging to our students, we must be able to differentiate our lessons and provide students both informative and interesting materials to help them advance in their learning. Nobody wants to sit in a desk and listen to a teacher lecture for fifty minutes every day, let alone students in middle school. Having a classroom design that allows students to become engaged with the content is very important. This does not mean to simply have a globe on your desk or a map on the wall, but having student-centered resources such as smart boards, clickers, and primary sources. These are just a few examples of things which will help create an engaging learning environment in the classroom.
In order to have an effective classroom, it is essential to be successful in classroom management. I will be sure to set expectations and guidelines for my students to follow. It is also important to reinforce and follow through with the expectations that have been set forth in the classroom. I believe that a teacher should look to reward students for good behavior just as often, if not more than disciplining a student for unacceptable behaviors. Always keeping a positive attitude and continuously encouraging students will help set them up for success in my classroom.
In conclusion, it is necessary to realize that we as teachers hold the keys to unlocking all of the potential that our students possess. Showing students the importance of setting goals at a young age will help them continue to exceed their goals as they grow older. It is also easy to see the importance of creating an exciting and engaging learning environment when teaching. Teachers have the unique opportunity to have a positive impact on a student’s life and the future in society. By creating a classroom that is both informative and interactive, we can give students the tools they need to be successful in their everyday lives. Ultimately, my goal is not only educate students with a curriculum, but to provide them with the knowledge and principles necessary to become better people in today’s society.
“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”
― Haim G. Ginott