To teach is to guide the minds of youth. Whether the unknown, a particular hobby, or a specific subject intrigues their minds, it is the responsibility of a teacher to help children search for knowledge. I believe that teachers should work to create an environment that nurtures learning based on equality and acceptance and an environment that addresses the needs of all children.
No two children learn the same way. According to Gardner, “each individual possesses seven distinct and measurable forms of intelligence; linguistic, logical-mathematics, spatial, body-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, and interpersonal.” As an educator, it is important to be able to teach to different learning styles. This means that while students need direction, they also need choice. Students learn in different ways and have different multiple intelligences. Giving students choice and freedom allows them to work to their strengths and build on their weaknesses.
One way to form a foundation that builds on students’ strengths and weaknesses is by integrating technology into the classroom. I believe that technology helps aid students with different multiple intelligences. Technology can be used for assessment and it can also be used to build an environment in the classroom, by using something like Edmodo. It is important to teach youth how to use technology appropriately and safely. When technology is left to the minds of students without supervision, it is often abused. Contrary to this notion though, technology can be used to encourage creativity, while challenging students to think logically.
Students are curious; they wonder, they have questions, they seek knowledge, and the unknown intrigues them. This is why inquiry is important. Similar to Dewey, I believe that learning occurs through experience. Inquiry based teaching allows students to have the opportunity to explore information to questions they find interesting and relevant. I believe that incorporating inquiry-based teaching into the classroom is important for all students to grow. It enables students to explore important issues and share their knowledge to the rest of the class in creative and analytical ways. Teaching inquiry goes beyond the classroom because it encourages students to question issues in society and seek answers to their questions. However, I think it can be difficult to incorporate inquiry when we have a mandated curriculum to follow.
I believe that teaching children is more than just accommodating to different needs. It is important to recognize that children need a positive environment for cognitive development. This includes physical activity. I believe that in order for a healthy learning atmosphere to take place, students need sufficient brain breaks. Allowing students regular breaks from learning, works to engage sensory regulation and maintain focus.
More recently, I have valued the importance of flexibility as a teacher. I think being a good teacher relies heavily on my ability to make adaptations on the spot. For example, there are many obstacles that can get in the way of a lesson plan and it is the responsibility of the teacher to be able to alter the lesson to accommodate for those conflicts. The most important advice I have received as a pre-intern teacher is that no day goes as planned, but it is your ability to “roll with the punches” that defines you as a teacher.
Closing to my teaching philosophy, I would like to comment on the fact that the school is a community. It is a place where students learn to interact with others and create a network of friends and relationships. As Vygotsky notes, “social interaction is critical for cognitive development.” I think it is significant that the classroom, and the school as a whole, follows the Code of Ethics. To be able to create a sense of community among the students and staff, educators must teach in a way where all students are represented equally and fairly. This can be accomplished through lesson plans, classroom discussions, readings, bulletin boards, art projects, and so on. Fostering social justice issues inside the classroom is essential for a school environment that is founded on acceptance and equity.