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Jasmine A. Moore
Dr. Frost
EH 500
30 November 2015
Teaching Philosophy
A teacher is someone who cares. Although this notion may seem overly simplistic, I
believe it proposes a complex understanding of the function and performance of any teacher. To
elucidate my personal philosophy, I will segment my argument into two fruitful explanations of
educational virtues. Compassion is at the core of learning and understanding. Aspiring teachers
develop their minds to pursue a particular subject matter that speaks to an awareness of the
surrounding world; this subject then channels a teachers desire to cultivate and manifest these
talents. Teachers, in turn, participate in pedagogical exercises that increase their knowledge to
the point that their expertise becomes important and innovative to others. Therefore, honing the
skills of ones craft is the first act of caring of any teacher.
The second act of a teachers caring is comprised of an ability to genuinely and
intuitively connect to the people one proposes to teach. Students come to the classroom from all
walks of life with varying stages of progress in their education. While the task of a teacher may
not be to reach perfection, it is a teachers job to create an environment centered around progress.
Most would say that the first step to this goal is to institute, perhaps doggedly, formulaic lessons,
and to enlist blind participation with the subject via essays, short writing assignments, etc.
Students are often not trusted to develop their own ideas and opinions on texts. I propose that the
first step to seeing any real progress is establishing trust with any class of students. A teacher
must not only distribute assignments, but must make sure that the student understands how the

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assignment is designed for that persons own individual success. The classroom, whether
secondary ed. or collegiate, must operate as an inviting arena for students to come into life;
students should not be forced to wilt under the strain of academic perfection in the name of
rigor. Although these two tenets of caring may not address the summation of what a teacher is,
I believe that they are foundational to anyone who wishes to becomes a successful educator.
Keeping these two aspects in mind, becoming a writing teacher can be an arduous
undertaking. Writing, with its broad range of styles and highly debated use of mechanics, can
become nightmarish for students who ordinarily are looking for the right answer or the way to
pass the class. They are constantly worried about meeting teachers expectations, and the
disconnection arises when teachers lose the motivation to teach aspects of social caring. Richard
Ohmann finds that the complete focus on basic skills can actually hinder the intellectual growth
of students. In the article Use Definite, Concrete Language Ohmann writes, I think it a
special pity if English teachers are turning students away from critical scrutiny of the words in
their heads, especially from those that are heavily laden with ideology (397). I agree with the
estimation that teachers are fearful of actively engaging their students while balancing the load of
keeping up with standards. This fear should not drive them to neglect the fundamental purpose of
becoming literate: reaching others and finding themselves. In addition, I have learned from
through Carl Nagins Because Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Our Schools that
teaching writing must be couched in pragmatic evaluation of educational expectations and social
compassion to guide students through complex and controversial issues (2-3). Students must
understand at all times how and why a writing assignment my benefit them or become useful to
their personal success and to position them within the greater picture of a global society.

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My philosophy is deeply rooted in the tenants of social practice that we have visited
throughout this semester. From the ideas on rewriting via Joseph Harris Rewriting to providing
the best form of classroom instruction in Newell et al.s study Teaching and Learning
Argumentative Writing in High School Language Arts Classrooms, I believe that the guiding
principles of these scholars is to make writing socially important and completely accessible to
students. Ultimately, my teaching philosophy is flexible. I know that there will be days to where
the basic skills of writing may be the only thing that I have to offer students. There will be other
days that I can engage them in the worthwhile meaning-making that I have mentioned above. In
the end, it is my personal mission to try to guide them to better themselves. I can only do this by
fostering compassion, trust, and connection in the classes I plan to teach.