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MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

My Philosophy of Teaching
I want to pursue a teaching career so I can experience the joy of making a positive
difference in the lives of my students, assisting them in developing their understanding of
the world and the individuals they can and will become. I will make a positive difference
in students lives by promoting self-reflection, encouraging critical thinking, and by
providing students with the skills needed to reach their potential. I am excited to see the
results of my efforts in making a positive difference in their lives, for there is nothing
better than the joy you feel when you see a struggling student finally feel successful after
accomplishing something on their own for the first time. For instance, when I was a
tutor, I was fortunate enough to see the huge smile on my students face after he read a
sentence for the first time by himself; his smile melted my heart. I live for these kinds of
moments and look forward to having more of them when I am a teacher. In addition to
wanting to teach so I can experience the joy of making a positive difference, I want to
teach because I enjoy interpersonal interaction, for I am the happiest when I am around
people.
Another reason I believe teaching is a great career for me is because I will be interacting
with students, colleagues, parents and other community members on a regular basis. This
high interpersonal interaction is important to me because I feel the happiest, and the most
efficient, when I am around people. In my last job as a scientific researcher, I had little
interpersonal interaction, which made me miserable. I realized then that if I wanted to
continue to work in the sciences, the best scientific career for me would be to teach
science, for teaching consists of high interpersonal interaction. I am aware that I may

MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

teach a different subject other than science upon my entry into the profession, but this is
of no concern to me as I have a passion not only for science, but for teaching as well. In
the rest of my philosophy of teaching I will discuss a few of my strengths as a teacher, a
few of my teaching beliefs, and what I hope will happen in my future classrooms. I feel I
have strengths that will allow me to be a good teacher including my ability: to easily
connect with others, to remain calm in unexpected situations, and to be patient.
One of my strengths is my ability to easily connect with others. This strength is
important because a good teacher possesses a capacity for connectedness (Palmer,
2007, p. 11). I will try to increase student engagement by connecting with my
students. Most people feel comfortable talking with me and asking me for advice due to
my easy-going personality and my excellent listening skills. I hope that my students will
feel the same way. I will try to connect with my students by giving them respect, and
asking my students about their interests. If possible, I will try to incorporate their
interests into my lesson plans. Although I usually get along with everyone, I realize that
not all of my students will necessarily like me. I need to be okay if this happens and
follow through with disciplinary actions (if required) instead of trying to be liked. I am
hopeful that I will connect at least with most of my students. In addition to my ability to
connect with students, I think another one of my strengths will be my ability to remain
calm and quickly find a solution when encountering an unexpected situation.
Practically every day a teacher encounters unexpected situations, such as a fire drill, or a
student arriving late to class, which suddenly forces the teacher to change their teaching
plans. I believe that I will be able to remain calm in these types of situations because I

MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

have done so in the past. For instance, just about the time I was about to present a paper
at a conference accompanied by a PowerPoint slideshow, I discovered my PowerPoint
was not going to work because the computer used for presenting did not read the version
of my PowerPoint slides. With no PowerPoint slides or writing tools at my disposal, I
quickly decided to use the image on my t-shirt (thankfully related to my topic) to explain
the main concept. Following the presentation, I was complemented on the way I calmly
and successfully handled the situation. From this experience I learned that as a teacher,
even with a lot of preparation, something unexpected can occur, and my ability to remain
calm and find a solution will be an asset when I teach. As a teacher I will ensure that I
always have a back-up plan, especially when I use technology. Using technology in my
classroom will most likely require another one of my strengths, which is my ability to be
patient, for technology has a tendency to not work when you need it the most.
I am patient with everyone, including uncooperative people; therefore, I believe I will be
able to maintain my professionalism as a teacher when encountering a student or a parent
who is difficult to work with. For example, when I was a coordinator of an elementary
school reading circle, I had parents that were continuously late in picking-up their
children. Whenever this would occur, instead of getting angry, I would calmly talk with
the parents in an attempt to come to a solution we could all agree upon. I believe that my
patience helped me in this situation and will help me to resolve most future differences
with students and parents. My patience should also be an asset when dealing with a
student who is misbehaving.

MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

According to Palmer (2007), when encountering a student who is misbehaving I should


not automatically blame the student for their actions, but self-reflect on whether or not
my teaching style is engaging. I believe that self-reflection must be a fundamental
component in my development as a teacher, for good teachers must live examined lives
trying to understand what animates for better or for worse (Palmer, 2007, p.ix). Socrates
would also agree with the importance of self-reflection, for he stated, the unexamined
life is not worth living (quoted by Plato in Apology), which I believe means our lives
have meaning, or value only if we strive to know and to understand ourselves. Therefore,
in order to improve my teaching, I believe I should continuously evaluate my
effectiveness as a teacher by reflecting on my lessons, strategies, and classroom
situations. In addition to me practicing self-reflection, I want to encourage my students
to self-reflect (e.g., evaluating their own work), for this will help them to both understand
themselves and think critically. Aside from believing in self-reflection, I also believe that
every student has a different learning style due to different academic abilities, motivation,
and experiences that influence their learning.
In an effort to reach each student, I feel that it is my responsibility to give my students
lots of choices in how they learn (e.g., working independently or in a small group) and
how they show their understanding (e.g., create a poster or write an essay). I want to use
a variety of pedagogies to help make my lesson plans understandable and engaging. The
pedagogy chosen at any given time will depend on my students, subject content and
context. One example of a pedagogy I like is think-pair-share, which was developed by
Lyman and associates to encourage student classroom participation.

MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

In my Aboriginal Education course my professor used the think-pair-share pedagogy for


us to discuss our views and feelings about articles we had read. This pedagogy was
perfect in this context because it helped create a safe space. Students who were shy or
students (like me) who sometimes worried about sharing their thoughts with the entire
class could share them with just another classmate; I felt my voice was heard. I believe
students need to feel they are heard to feel respected. I will work hard to establish a safe,
friendly classroom community where participation is promoted and there is mutual
respect. I will be cautious, however, not to cross any professional boundaries with my
students. I am excited to become a teacher so I can try out this pedagogy with my
students.
Furthermore, I want to become a teacher so I can experience the joy of making a positive
difference in the lives of my students, and experience high interpersonal interaction with
students, colleagues, parents and other community members. My ability to easily
connect with others, to remain calm in unexpected situations, and to be patient when
dealing with conflict, will serve as strengths, which will help me become a good
teacher. Also my teaching beliefs, including the importance of self-reflection and using a
variety of pedagogies, will help me become a good teacher because my beliefs will help
guide me in the decisions I make in my future classrooms. In my future classrooms I
hope that my students feel safe enough to voice their opinions and ask questions. I
envision that my students will enjoy being in my class because they feel respected and
appreciated for who they are due to me connecting with my students, providing the
students choice with what they do and how they do it, and by using a variety of
pedagogies.

MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

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References

Palmer, P. J. (2007). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher's
life. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.
Plato. Apology: Jowett translation. Retrieved April 11, 2014, from the World Wide
Web:http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1656