This I Believe

Ashley - San Francisco, California
Entered on November 3, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

Philosophy of Teaching

I have been teaching since the Fall of 1999. From that incredibly nerve-wracking first day of my first year of school to the richly rewarding lesson on amending the Constitution last Friday, I have been growing as a teacher and person. During this time, my philosophical views, goals, and rewards that I obtain from teaching continue to take shape. This is my current steam of consciousness on my philosophy of teaching.

Teaching is a profession that has unlimited growth potential and far reaching consequences. I believe that teachers are role models and I believe that voting is cool. I believe that to be a successful teacher you need to bring passion and commitment to your students every single day. Teachers today hold more responsibility that simply feeding students state standards; they should make learning fun and provide tools for learning. Teaching can be tough. Teachers have a responsibility to make students feel safe, both physically in the classroom as well as intellectually. Teachers can think outside of standard classroom pedagogy and work with their communities to bring their lessons relevance and life. Teachers need to listen to what students have to say. Teaching is sharing. Teachers need to be students too, take risks, and keep things fresh. Teachers should encourage students to participate in critical thinking and analysis of the world around them. I believe that teachers can have a sense of humor and be silly in the classroom. Teachers need to practice accountability and to be held accountable. Teachers should smile. Teachers should model healthy lifestyles, dress professionally, and be proud of what they do. Teaching should be fun. A teacher can support students who wants to take an AP class as a stretch and celebrate even when they score a 2 on the AP exam. Teachers should get to work early and not stay too late. Teachers should help other teachers. Teachers should go to the school play and the ‘Big Game.” I believe that teachers should be happy to see their students and greet them at the door. Teachers can continue to seek professional growth opportunities. All students can be favorite students. Teachers need to make sure they have a life outside of school. Teachers should be open to constructive criticism. Teachers can have high expectations for all of their students. Most of all, teachers need to enjoy motivating young people to excel.

How does that saying go? “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish … feed him for a lifetime.” For our profession, teach students what to learn, they can pass a test. Teach students how to learn…and they can change the world.