Teaching Philosophy

In my classroom, the needs of my students are the driving force behind my lesson plans, the arrangement of my classroom, and my how I interact with each child.  This student-centered classroom creates an educational environment focused on high expectations, pride in one’s work, and meaningful learning.

In order to effectively teach, you must first understand.  I believe in a holistic approach to education.  The academic ability of an individual child is simply one component of their being.  There is so much more to every child than their reading ability and how proficient they are in math.  I believe that it is important to get to know who each student is, to learn about their interests and strengths that might not typically manifest themselves in a classroom environment.  Not only will understanding my students as people help me be a more effective teacher, but it will also help me connect on a general level with each child.  Elementary school teachers play a critical role in a child’s life because they spend so much time with their students.  In some cases, teachers see more of a child than the parents do.  As such, a teacher is an important figure, not only for fostering academic growth, but also for fostering social and emotional growth.  By getting to know my students on a personal level, and fostering the growth of the whole child, I am able to much more effectively teach and motivate my students, both within and outside the classroom.  If a child believes that he or she is valued as an individual, I believe that child is more likely to be motivated to succeed in all aspects of his or her life.

With respect to academics, I value every student as an individual learner.  I truly believe that every child has the potential to be successful in school if they are provided with the necessary tools and support.  Therefore, differentiating my teaching and my lesson plans in order to help them meet the diverse interests and needs of my students is imperative.  By using a variety of approaches in my lessons to meet the needs of all learners (kinesthetic movement, reading, writing, oral instructions, partner and teamwork, individual assignments, hands-on manipulatives, etc.), I am able to meet the needs of students with a vast array of learning styles.  In creating a learning environment that is meaningful with real-world connections, students are taught to recognize the empowering nature of an education, and not only achieve the high expectations I set for them, but also to learn to expect as much from themselves.

Each individual student makes up an integral part of the classroom community.  Every child has something unique and special to offer to the classroom.  In my classroom, diversity is valued, and students are encouraged to learn from one another and help each other.  They are arranged in teams, and are often encouraged to work cooperatively with their teammates.  Not only does working with their teammates provide this opportunity to learn from others’ strengths and help their peers, but it also teaches students teamwork and cooperation, which are important life skills.  Additionally, in viewing the classroom as a community, students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge of how the classroom community works to the “real world.”

Finally, my teaching has a very strong literacy-based approach.  Our world is centered around literacy: reading and writing exist everywhere in our lives.  Therefore, I strive to integrate literature-based activities into all subject areas.  By exploring various sources of print, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, students are provided with an alternative approach to a given concept, and are also able to learn how to better communicate their ideas.  In integrating literacy-based activities with other subjects, students will recognize that reading and writing do not exist in isolation, either; they exist all around us.  Ultimately, I hope to help my students see how becoming better readers and writers is important in each of their unique lives, regardless of what they do.