I attended my first conference as a college professor last week. While it was very good, it also reminded me that my own professional blog has been remiss. I was trying to decide how to begin again, when I thought of my teaching philosophy. What does it meant to me? Does it reflect my current beliefs?
And suddenly, I have a place to start. It’s a good beginning, but it doesn’t include my new experiences with technology, or my new beliefs about rubrics. But first things first: a review of the old one:
I began my teaching career under North Carolina’s lateral entry program, which means I had to develop a method and teaching philosophy while employed in a North Carolina high school. I quickly discovered that success as an educator relied more on developing relationships rather than the specific amount of knowledge one might offer a student. Education policy tends to divide students into various subsets of intellectual, behavioral, and economic factors; these methods of classification sometimes negotiate the student’s identity as an individual. The successful teacher should balance the mandated material and facilitate a personal exchange between the multi-faceted student and the classroom as a whole. I began to understand teaching as a lifestyle that put knowledge into action rather than simply covering material in a book.
Various successes and failures in my first months as an educator taught me the unparalleled value in recognizing each student as a complex combination of personality traits. Each student was a product of individual and shared environment; while knowledge encourages us to view students as unique, knowledge itself must be uniform among many to establish validity. Twenty-five students could look at the same text and see twenty five different things. Subsequently, I learned to discover the quirks and personalities of each student and adjust my methods accordingly. The interaction or give and take between student and teacher created a balance. Taking effort to learn my students and developing guidelines for classroom mannerisms married my professional responsibilities and allow each student to feel empowered by their diversity.
My educational philosophy is founded on the notion that successful teaching begins by building honest relationships with students. It is my job as a teacher to assess the skills and talents of students as fairly and honestly as possible. My evaluation standards should be made available for every graded assignment, that each standard is clear and concise in definition, and that each evaluation is a chance to improve and not a stone solid statement about a student’s potential. I encourage all my students to use evaluations as a reflection, in hopes of inspiring the direction of their talents. Finally, because teaching is not a static profession, I will cultivate my ability to remain open to new ideas and experiences.
I’m excited to begin; I hold firm that active reflection makes for a good teacher.