This I Believe

Elizabeth - Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that we as educators should hold the strong conviction that any student can succeed in our academic environment when given the necessary means to do so. Under this philosophy, it is imperative that every aspect our classroom design be student dictated, as we aim to develop the whole child. This begins with the overall learning community culture. Students should be invited to express their true academic, physical, emotional and social identities in a classroom that fosters ideas of respect and tolerance. Teachers should be held responsible for creating this surrogate family of students, and ensure that each student understands the significant and unique role they play in their academic community.

Once students feel comfortable in their surroundings, they can enter into the learning and engage in our whole curriculum. Here, we must realize that it is our role as educators to provide students with the appropriate amount of support and motivation they need in order to “come to know”. It is vital that we identify who our learners are and what differentiated instruction they might best benefit from, thus providing each member of our diverse learning community access to the knowledge. When our instruction guides each student in constructing their own personal sense of a subject as well as encourages our student community to develop a collective meaning, we can make certain that the deepest and highest-level of cognitive understanding is taking place.

What we teach is seemingly comparatively important to how we teach. I believe in teaching a “whole curriculum” in which we address that which is state mandated (giving the students the opportunity to succeed in the high stakes testing and traditional ideas of intellect) as well as that which is incorporated into the “invisible” or hidden curriculum. I believe school to be the foremost place for a student to become prepared for the real world. Ideas of self-motivation, self-esteem, social responsibility, and core universal values will, therefore, be stressed my personal curriculum. Students must recognize a greater reason for their learning beyond that which is expected in the present classroom: they must understand that the greatest goal of this entire schooling experience is to gain of the necessary means to become an intelligent and influential member of society.

I believe that when we choose the teaching life, we choose to dedicate our whole being to developing life-long learners. We must have a love for academic knowledge, compassion for humanity, an optimistic perspective on our next generation, enthusiasm for educating, and of course, an abundant amount of caffeine in order to succeed in the classroom.