Teaching Philosophy Conducting in the Classroom In an orchestra, each player has his or her individual part.

No part alone sounds complete; each member needs the sounds of the other instruments to play the music as it was intended. When one instrument plays a note out of key, the entire chord, the entire orchestration of notes as it was meant to be played, is thrown awry. And so it is in the classroom. Some students desire to learn and dig deeper into the material, know how to do so, whereas others haven’t yet learned how. Though it is expected that students will play notes out of key, and could not learn otherwise, more needs to be done to help each individual student see their important role in the orchestration of their own education. As a teacher, I consider students as individuals, and try to capture and draw upon what each person can bring, and does bring, into the classroom. Conducting is a Process As a Teacher, I will always be learning. I want to reflect the way I hope my own students will learn—never accepting what they’ve learned as enough, but using it as a departure point toward a world of knowledge. If all they did was try to avoid mistakes, musicians in an orchestra would not be able to finish a rehearsal. I pursue teaching and learning in common with my students. I want them to know that making mistakes is okay, even valued, in the scheme of mastering their own education. I have expectations we will all be learning together, rather than the students learning alone, setting the tone for a safe learning environment. I love creating community in my classroom through this learning process: drawing from individual experiences, noting personal interests, insights, and questions in the stories of my students. What we learn in the classroom will carry over into the outside lives of my students and myself. Just as a conductor must know the strengths and weaknesses of their individual musicians, so I must know the same in order to create relevant and motivational lessons —to make each movement in the music of my students’ educations mean something. Through journal entries and in-class discussions, I use formative assessment to develop the lessons my students need on a day-to-day basis, and through tests and writing assignments at the ends of units, I utilize summative assessment to determine the material they’ve mastered and the material we need to revisit. I want to reach out to my students, intentionally pursuing the knowledge of how they will best learn individually and communally when assessing how they’re dealing with the material. Through having conversations with the students in my classroom, I have been able to build deeper relationships, and through the knowledge gained in these relationships, I’ve been able to plan with my students in mind. Through simply talking with my students on a daily basis, I improve my teaching to reach the individuals in my classroom. I want to learn about and incorporate their home lives and their communities outside of school. To know someone is in a large way related to knowing where they’ve come from—and pursuing these relationships will make my students feel known and valued.

Bringing My Own Interpretation A conductor always brings their own interpretation to the way they teach and lead their orchestra. In order to show my students that I expect them to bring their own interests into the classroom, I’m learning to incorporate things I love (like music and poetry and writing) as a way to communicate to my students that I want them to know me as much as I want to know them. My interests are easy to incorporate into an English Language Arts classroom, but the real fun begins when I’m able to discuss with my students how to draw from their interests when considering English. Sports allusions, connections to politics and current affairs, and giving students more freedom with what they write are all teaching techniques I’ve picked up and incorporated into my pedagogy which help to make learning accessible to all students, not just those who share the same interests as myself. I teach with the intention of each student understanding and taking away new knowledge from my lessons. I move around the room during individual or group work, and view this as one of the most important strategies I use as a teacher. Through circulating around the room, relating to the students, and asking them how they’re doing with an assignment is helpful for all parties involved. As an English Language Arts teacher, this time provides me with a deeper insight into how my lesson is being received and gives me time to build relationships with my students. As a teacher always in pursuit of new knowledge regarding my students, it provides time to ask questions outside of the larger group—a time when many students are “lost in the crowd”. Aside from circulating around the classroom and checking in with my students, I make sure to describe concepts or ideas with multiple wordings, so as to help students of different learning styles understand the material. I teach this way so that more students may be able to grasp the lesson—so that more of my “musicians” will tap into the larger melody of learning. Through changing the wording on occasion, I’m promoting that students can communicate things in a variety of different ways, as well as learn in a variety of different ways. I really want to communicate that there is no “ideal learner” in the classroom—that each student is an ideal learner when they find the way to learn that best fits who they are and how they experience the world. As each musician in an orchestra brings their own instrument and their own skill, my students bring their own experiences and perceptions into the classroom. I work to utilize these experiences and perceptions to provide a better learning experience for all. As a teacher, I focus on the student as an individual. I will never be able to teach to each and every student in the most optimal way that they could learn, but I will be able to cater my larger lessons to accompany the unique learning I believe every student experiences. I am a strong supporter of differentiated learning in the English Language Arts classroom. I have experience with guided reading, developing lesson plans at different writing levels, and allotting time for students of mine who need to verbally process what they’re learning. I know my students, and I’ve seen this knowledge affect the way I teach: more effectively and considerately. As each individual musician matters in an orchestra, the music of learning would not be the same without each individual student contributing their own interpretation and experience of the notes on the page, and this individuality benefits the larger orchestration taking place: their education.