This I Believe

Paul - Croton, New York
Entered on April 23, 2008

As an educator, I believe that all students have a desire to learn and that is the responsibility of myself as a teacher to make the learning experience enjoyable. I feel that if students are enjoying their learning experience and are involved, then they will strive to learn and will learn more. I attempt to move away from lecture because through my own experiences, I find it boring and easy to get lost in private thoughts and forget what is being taught. With hands-on projects and lessons, students feel closer to their teacher and more responsible for what is happening in front of them.

The teachers that I remember and look up to from when I was a younger student all shared at least on characteristic, which was involvement. I remember in fourth grade and we were reading the first Harry Potter book in class. It had started as a read aloud, where for forty-five minutes a day she would read to all of us. However, eventually she began to let a student read for a day, then another student the next. It wasn’t required, nor did every student participate, but from being able to read aloud to the class and be more involved in the class activity, I know that I learnt more.

However, I think the teacher that influenced my philosophy of education most would be my chemistry teacher from Killington Mountain School, Dennis Fanning. Although it was a small class with just Dennis and I, my time there was more than enjoyable. He didn’t teach me, as a teacher would, he talked to me as a friend would. He spoke to me as an equal, and understood when I was grasping a subject or didn’t need to go in depth on something. I think it was because of this fact that I enjoyed the class so much and learned so much more than at my regular school.

I hope to be able to connect with my students on a personal level and become not their teacher, but a friend. It’s my belief that children will pay more attention, listen more attentively, and eventually learn more if they see me as a friend and not just Mr. Zemba. By becoming a friendly figure will also allow for ease when it comes to attempting hands-on lessons with my students.

I believe that this idea of hands-on learning comes from my passion for science and experiments. The ability to be in complete control of what’s in front of you is thrilling and helps me think. I plan to put forth this ideology in my classroom and lessons, and hope my students share the same feelings I did when I was younger.