Yesterday was such a summer day. My mom came up for the day and we drove to the Disney area to visit my first grade teacher at the resort her and her family are staying at for the week. The weather, the resort, and the company was wonderful!
Did anyone see Jurassic World yet? The way that this resort was set up, looked like we were in Jurassic World. I told my mom as we were walking around that I felt like a Plesiosaurus was going to pop out and grab us out of that lake.
Anyways, my first grade teacher became good friends with my mom as she worked at the same elementary school that my sister and I attended. Therefore, it was easy to keep in touch. She moved to Kentucky when I was still in Elementary school, so this was the first time I have seen her since 5th grade! It was such a joy spending time with her and her family. She was exactly how I remembered. I bet she couldn’t say the same about me ( at least I hope.)
Being an education major, I was asked the question all the time “ What do you think makes a good teacher?” Melissa was always the first teacher that popped into my head. Being in first grade, I do not remember more than the fact that she cared for me. I felt cared for, and that, I believe, built trust and and a desire to come to school each day.
I thought I would share my teaching philosophy with you! I am by no means a perfect teacher. This philosophy is simply what I aspire to be. I continue to fail in all of these areas but, by God’s grace, hope to grow as an educator each year.
My Teaching Philosophy
As a teacher of students with special needs, it is essential to have deep convictions about the value and uniqueness of each and every student of mine. Too often students with special needs are viewed in light of their limitations, but I choose to view them in light of their possibilities. Working from a basis of dignity, I see each student as possessing immense potential. My job as a teacher is to cultivate and release that potential.
Learning is one of the greatest gifts and responsibilities in our world. While some may focus on the deficiencies of special needs children, I feel more attention should be focused on their abilities. It is a natural aspect of humanity to learn and grow. Since every child can learn, I have the privilege and the duty to cultivate that ability. Some may learn more than others and in different ways, but acknowledging and adapting for each student will enable them to develop and progress. As a teacher, it is my joy to know each of my students’ strengths and weaknesses so that I can enhance their learning experience and motivate them to high levels of success. The generational impact of teaching is the most rewarding part of my experience. I have a long term vision for each of my students to succeed as responsible and contributing members of their community. I focus on changing the trajectory of my student’s lives to have the maximum amount of impact in their world.
An outstanding teacher is one who sets high expectations for their students, taking into consideration their background and then developing a compelling vision of what they could become. This compelling vision enables the outstanding teacher to set goals and maintain high expectations through the learning process. Immediate positive reinforcement is essential to maintain gains long term which is why I literally wear a fanny pack. Outstanding teachers manage their classroom well, keeping it running like a well-oiled machine. Consistency with procedures and clear expectations are essential to excellent classroom management. Students must know what is expected of them as well as have the next steps to achieve those expectations. Lastly, an outstanding teacher strives to form positive relationships with their students by making it clear that they have their students’ best interests at heart. When students can tell that their teacher is working for their overall good, it is easier for the student to trust the teacher when achievement is difficult. Students have faith in their teacher when they know that follow through will lead to flourishing.
What do you think makes a good teacher? Who was your favorite teacher and why?