As an educator, I recognize the profound knowledge gap students must overcome when completing their K-12 education; therefore, I work to instill in students that education is a life-long process. It begins by learning how to achieve success by being motivated to overcoming barriers. As a teacher, I strive to provide a fun, fair, and safe environment where students are motivated to thrive in such discovery.
I most often replace extrinsic motivation with incidental learning techniques to motivate and provide a fun learning experience. To motivate students, I work to meet Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The classroom environment is designed so that students can feel safe and secure: physically, socially, and psychologically. By meeting basic levels of needs, students are able to reach self-actualization and a level of intrinsic motivation through individual goal setting.
I encourage excellence in students and myself by maintaining high-quality courses. Keeping expectations and standards elevated, I provide additional academic support for students. I encourage students to take control of their success by utilizing all the resources offered to guide their ascendance.
Because students learn in different ways, I integrate Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theories into the curriculum. My mission is to help assist students in identifying their unique strength and building upon those assets. My student-centered progressivism approach is not to lecture, but to give children a voice in the learning process. By assisting students in finding connections in the curriculum with their own lives and interests, they are able to “own” their knowledge. Modeling, inquiry, cooperative and independent work, and hands-on discovery are central to my teaching style.
Implementing social reconstructionism in the classroom, children are inspired to use their imagination and to contribute feedback. Opportunities are given to relate learning and critical thinking skills to social challenges outside of the classroom. I encourage students to recognize and respect the different views, opinions, and cultures found in our multicultural world. Each child has the potential to make positive changes in society, while simultaneously growing as individuals. This approach empowers, builds self-esteem, and fine-tunes problem solving skills.
I have found that most classroom discipline issues can be curved by engaging lessons, organization, and consistency of the teacher. This builds a trusting relationship between the student and teacher. Classroom management from the teacher is essential. I want students to understand the reasoning behind a classroom management program and to abide by standards, not to gain praise or to avoid consequences, but for the betterment of their learning process and because it’s the right thing to do. To meet this goal, I have implemented many Whole Brain Teaching strategies into classroom structure. Positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior is used to detour negative behavior. Expectations and classroom protocol is made clear, while students are held responsible for self-control and self-discipline. When warranted, consequences are related to the inappropriate behavior and allow students to self-reflect, not meant to punish. I look to school administration to guide and support these efforts.
Though my personal philosophy of education is eclectic, my fundamental goal is to provide a fun, fair, and safe place conducive to learning. Experiences from my own life, education, and career in working with young people have taught that the education process flourishes when one is having fun, is treated fairly, and feels safe. As I continue as a professional educator, my philosophy will most likely evolve; however, the foundations of my educational philosophy will continue to guide me in the way I interact with and teach my students.