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Kyle McCartan Dr.

Lipscyz Teacher Identity April 2009 My teacher philosophy is something that Ive been unconsciously thinking about and developing since my first years in school. I would always sit in class and say to myself well the teachers way is okay, buy I think Id do it differently. Now that I have pedagogical ideas and resources to back up my interpretation of teaching, which relies heavily on experience and dialogue, I hope to expand on my identity and bring a fresh outlook into the classroom in In my opinion the strongest attribute I can bring into a classroom is the fact the next few years. that Im a real person who is open to new ideas and interpretations, and Im someone who can take those new ideas and apply them in my daily life. This will be a big help as I begin teaching since, initially my experience will be slim to none and Ill need to gain insight from more experienced teachers in order In better communicate with students. to order to maintain a rhythm or routine in the classroom, Ill begin each class with a short (approximately 100 words) open ended or free writing exercise in journals. Students will either have a question pertaining to important themes that have been discussed in class, or theyll be able to write on their own about something they feel is important right now. In order to give some incentive to write, Id collect the journals each day and use them to mark attendance, however, they will only be a participation grade and the writing will not be graded. Collecting journals will give me, as the teacher, insight into the students understanding of pertinent themes relating to texts weve discussed, and also insight into who each student is individually. Even

though this writing activity doesnt challenge students very much, it does get them focused on the class and is a warm up that transitions easily into the actual content of Once this the class. initial exercise or warm up is done, my teaching style will be a mix a of John Deweys experiential continuum theory, Blooms dialogical classroom. I feel that John Deweys theory that each experience builds upon the last is completely correct, and heavily influences what I will bring into the classroom. Dewey believed that learning is an active process and students learn by doing, not by sitting and listening all the time. When the educator and the students are experiencing literature together, both educator and student have the ability to take the experience and grow from it. It is the teachers job to facilitate this growth due to the explicit knowledge of the texts, however, most upper level English classes that Ive been in a student will, at least once, propose and interpretation the professor has not thought Another idea mix feel strongly through active and Wagners three Is of. This is the that Iof experience about is Moffettlearning and the dialogicalas the backbone for feel makes learning process. I feel that individualization in classroom which Ian effective the exchange of ideas exciting. learning is the best thing that a teacher can do for a student and once the individualization has been accomplished, Interaction and Integration fall neatly into place. Since every student is different, how can one assume that everyone will learn equally from the same lesson? Once a student is aware that a teacher is willing to personalize their learning experience, they will immediately begin to further their Interaction with the teacher since a personalized lesson will be either in small groups or individual. This increased interaction with the teacher and realization that the teacher is in the classroom for more than a paycheck, will naturally help the students self confidence and will

enable them to participate in class more possibly decreasing the need for such individual attention. In the classroom, an experience based, student based curriculum which relies on the interaction, ideas, and dialogue of students is the perfect way to actively engage students in learning and make the English classroom setting fun and exciting. The exchange of new ideas either between student The teacher, or student and student is always fun and enlightening. and current issue that Id address in the classroom everyday comes directly from my own high-school experience. In Guilderland High School, which is just outside of Albany, English seemingly takes a backseat to the sciences and math. During my four years we never covered many of the great American authors such as Whitman, Emerson and Hawthorne. The curriculum was very thin and we just slightly touched on Shakespeare and Poe and Faulkner mainly. There was little to none, in my experience, emphasis on minority authors or even much acknowledgment to the existence of incredible works of One thing that I would initially do is or Dickinson. American literature such as Melville have a discussion on some potential biases that the students may feel go along with reading a female author or an author of color. With these biases known, we can now work, using texts, to break down preconceived notions. I think by high school students have formed some sort of opinion on the issue of diversity in the classroom, and I feel that an intelligent discussion could ensue without too closely toeing the line bordering on a discussion of race relations. I think it would only help to flush out some of the more ridiculous ideas that go along with things such a slave narrative and womans literature.

I would use something like the excerpts from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs to help break the misconception that slave narrative cant be well written and engaging. Also the short story we read in class, The Flowers by Alice Walker, is a good text that shows how a black woman, not necessarily a slave, can beautifully depict aspects of life that are unique to the demographic. I think my high school, which is where I would like to teach someday, needs an infusion of energy that comes from a new face; preferably mine. I think my school also needs male English teachers because the males in my school had no role model to look at, nor were the female teachers able to command the respect needed to impart knowledge on teenage boys. Also, motivation is low in my town since a majority of the people have money to help their kids out. I dont think anyone ever let me know, during my four years, that the English language can be fun, beautiful, and enlightening all at the same time.