Andrea Stupp EDU 5160: School Culture, Settings and Systems in the 21st Century Personal Philosophy of Teaching

November 30, 2009 Those Who Can’t Do Teach Those Who Can Do and Have Passion Teach

American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard said, “The teacher is one who makes two ideas grow where only one grew before.” This quote summarizes my personal philosophy of teaching. It is my belief that the classroom isn’t where teachers simply present the facts and knowledge of their subject area, instead a classroom is a place where enthusiasm is felt, “processes” and the “bigger ideas” are taught, and respect is demonstrated and mutual. A classroom is a place where I, as a teacher, can demonstrate my many passions. This doesn’t only include my passion for Social Studies, but most importantly my passion for my students and my students’ success. Teachers must put their students above everything else. Their classroom should be a place where students feel comfortable and safe so that they can explore the subject area and themselves. My safe and comfortable environment will be created on the basis of mutual respect. It is my belief that the best way to teach respect is to demonstrate it. Through my punctuality, demeanor, appearance and effort students will have no question if I respect them. I will be my students’ advocate and their cheerleader. They will know that I am approachable and in their corner ready to be of service to them. It is my belief that if a teacher should want their students to be enthusiastic and interested in their passions a teacher must demonstrate a similar interest in their students’ passions. I will be present at sporting events, school plays, concerts and art shows. They will see my face in a crowd of faces knowing that I am there in support of

their efforts and hard work. These are the foundations on which respect in the classroom are built. Respect is something that after being established is often tested. I believe that after respect is tested and resolved it becomes even stronger. If problems arise in my classroom it will be addressed with a humanistic approach. Students are not simply students; they are first and foremost people. It is my philosophy that issues surrounding behavior or struggles with the content should be addressed in a safe, one on one environment. It was always my wish that my teachers would do that respect for me so I will show my students that respect. For example if a student should misbehave in front of the class rather than it being me versus the student in front of their peers it will be me and the student without an audience so that the student does not feel threatened and I can properly address the issue or behavior that needs addressing. It is my philosophy that once a feeling of respect is known and shared then effective teaching can begin. The most important lessons in my classroom will be the lessons that surround the “process.” The “process” to me is the never ending active learning that takes place in schools. By learning the skills that surround the process, the uncovering of knowledge becomes under my students’ control. It makes learning become approachable and it becomes a way for my students to lead their selves to their desired results. We today stress results to students constantly and results are important and should be stressed. I believe that along with results, the process should be stressed too and will be in my classroom. There are many “processes” for students to learn in my social studies class. They will learn proper and effective note taking, the writing process, the process of forming good discussion or debate, and the process for reading documents for not only details but more importantly “big ideas.”

One of my many passions in the area of social studies is the research process. I believe that the research we do in social studies is so unique yet so applicable to other areas of life. It is my belief that many times people focus on the end result of research rather then the process. My students will experience the opposite. They will not only learn the knowledge that results from doing research for a paper, but more importantly the students will learn the “process” of research. My students will learn how to critique and assess sources when researching so that they are able to determine whether the sources are credible or not. So many students have become susceptible to non-credible sources on the internet. Students have to learn how to protect themselves from the false information that exists because in college or the work place it will be their responsibility to know the difference. My students will be accustomed and comfortable with using proper citations for sources so that it becomes habit to give credit where credit is due. Most importantly my students will understand the value of primary sources. They will learn where to find them and how to interpret them. I believe that primary sources are what make history relevant and relatable. It is my goal for each of my students to form their own understandings of the material that is studied in our classroom. I don’t just want the students know the information surrounding the Enlightenment; I want them to know how the Enlightenment affects the American culture and government they live in today. All of these aspects of history are my passions and make up what I call the “process”. This “process” is something they will never stop using in all areas of their lives if that is in college or in the work force. These “processes” and “bigger ideas” will be included in all of my lessons. I myself am always working on the different “processes” and I never stop practicing and


perfecting the skills that make for active and never ending learning. My passion for research will not only enhance my knowledge of social studies, but it will enhance my knowledge of teaching as well. I will always be searching for new ways to make my classroom and teaching methods more effective for my students. This document in itself is an example of that “process”. To me this document is a living document that will grow and change as I grow and change as a teacher. It is my personal philosophy that respect, shared passions and the teaching of “big ideas” and “processes” are the keys to “making two ideas grow where only one grew before.” We need to not only give students the seeds but give them the tools and teach them the techniques as well. These important aspects of learning will be the foundations of my classroom.

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