I have had many experiences, both good and bad, in my many years of public and private school. These experiences have taught me many things about the art of teaching. Through my experiences as student, teacher, and observer, I have learned the do’s and don’ts of teaching. These experiences have helped me to formulate my educational philosophy.

The Importance of Curiosity

I believe that students want to learn. Babies are curious, and I believe that that trait is carried on throughout life. A school’s job is to foster that curiosity, to help students learn about themselves and the world. However, when that curiosity is stifled, as I suspect many children's are, they lose their will to learn. This makes school a chore, and they become a problem for their teachers. I believe that a child’s curiosity is a fragile thing, and that it is the teacher’s job to reinforce that curiosity, and to make it stronger so that it lasts. This is important to foster a love of learning in that student that will last even if the student has an unsavory experience with learning later in life.

As I began to work in classrooms, I found that this was only partly true. My observation of students led me to believe that their curiosity may not be stifled, but that they have learned not to express it. However, if they are put in a situation where interesting information is presented, they cannot contain their enthusiasm and curiosity. From these observations, I know that my job contains another facet. I must ensure that I know my students' interests, likes, and dislikes, so that I can bring out their enthusiasm for learning. I also learned that getting students to be enthusiastic could be easy. It might just require me to show my own enthusiasm and personality, and I try to do this during every lesson that I implement.

Student Learning Styles

Students learn in different ways, therefore education can’t be the same for everyone. As a teacher, I must make sure that my teaching is tailored to meet the needs of each and every student in my classroom. As I thought more about this, I was able to research ways to meet my students' needs. As I learned about Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences in my classes, I really began to identify with his theories. This prompted me to do some more research on theorist with which I identify, and I compiled these thoughts in a research paper. Influential Educators.pdf

Besides the fact that students learn differently, students have diverse backgrounds that affect the way that they learn. If there is one thing that both teachers and students should be taught, it is to appreciate diversity, in every form, in their classrooms. This lesson is important to help students learn about their world. It is also important for the teachers, so that they don’t say or do anything to a student that may affect a student’s view of them, or scar them.

I have always thought that students would want to learn more if you could connect their interests to their work. I don’t think that I would have such a passion for science today if my fifth grade science teacher didn’t teach me about the snails that I loved to pick up on rainy days. When I walked into class with a snail in a small cup, she didn’t react by telling me that I couldn’t keep a snail in the classroom. She patiently answered my questions, and helped me to keep my snail alive. If I would choose an instructional strategy, it would be one where students’ curiosity and the teacher’s passion and knowledge could mix together to form a delicate balance. The method that fits this description best would be subject-centered teaching. I think that this would be the best way to approach an elementary classroom.

The Importance of Assessment and Content Knowledge

I will know that my students have learned when they are able to apply my lesson to another situation. Evaluating whether a child is learning is an important part of the role of a teacher in the learning process. It is important that a teacher provides the information in an interesting way, evaluate whether a student is learning, and if they are not, find a new way to help the student to understand the material. It is also important for the teacher to foster a positive relationship with their class so that students feel comfortable telling their teacher that they don’t understand something. The student is just as important. The student must be open and receptive to the information and enthusiasm being given by the teacher, and be willing to express concerns with their teacher. Every student should also be able to communicate that they do not understand the subject matter, if necessary.

Content knowledge will have a large impact on whether my students understand what is being taught. It will be quite impossible to teach my class about something that I do not know. Therefore, I must make sure that I am well versed in the curriculum that I have to teach, and that I can do all of the tasks that I require of my students.

The Classroom Environment

Lastly, it is also important for the teacher and student to work together to create a classroom environment conducive to learning. It is important for teachers and students to work together to create an open environment where both teachers and students can ask questions and learn from each other. It is important for both parties to know that both teachers and students learn in the classroom. It is also important for everyone in this environment to know their boundaries, so that no one loses their ability or desire to speak up in such an open environment.