As a B.Ed student, I was tasked with drafting my philosophy of education. This assignment would double as a piece for my portfolio. I found it surprisingly difficult to write, although I had written about my beliefs numerous times before. I found myself stuck between writing what I thought my audience wanted to hear, including cramming in as many buzzwords as possible, and having the document be an authentic representation of my beliefs.
Above all else, I aim to be a teacher whose central focus is the well-being of my students. This incorporates the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of well-being. I am a strong advocate of looking after one’s mental health, and am mindful of the struggles many have beneath the surface they share in public. Working together with parents/guardians and community leaders is important to me, so each of my students is getting the kind of support they need. Providing students the opportunity to take body breaks, moments for DPA, and emotional health check-ins, helps sustain healthy attitudes while at school.
My students need to feel safe and secure within my classroom, and they need to know they are supported by their teacher and their peers. Due to my time teaching in Korea, I am particularly vigilant of bullying. I strongly believe in having students recognize a zero-tolerance attitude towards bullying at the very start of the school year, and carrying that attitude throughout. Working together with my colleagues and administration staff is imperative so there is a unified front protecting our students.
Literacy is also very important to me, but this goes beyond having the ability to read and write. I want my students to be scientifically literate, digitally literate, historically literate, etc. I want them to hone their critical thinking skills and closely examine what they are consuming. I also want them to be able to use the tools they have at their disposal effectively and appropriately. Nurturing this growth via cross-curricular connections is essential to achieve this.
I recognize my personal background and experiences are not going to be reflected in the diversity I will find in my classes. As an able-bodied, white, cis-male, I must be cognizant of who I am. My students must be able to see themselves in their curriculum, and feel they are studying in an inclusive environment. Incorporating voices other than mine in lessons is of vital importance, so my students are exposed to a variety of authentic perspectives. Expanding my professional learning community allows me to grow as an individual, and become a better teacher. Being able to draw upon a richer tapestry of voices benefits my students, and provides them with a more meaningful learning experience. The learning environment must also reflect this, and incorporate universal design elements to better speak to a variety of learners.
I would like to see my students grow to be leaders within the classroom and their community. Fostering the kind of confidence and skills necessary for this is paramount. Leadership takes root by allowing them to take ownership of their learning, and advocating for a gradual release of responsibility. I am a big proponent of inquiry-based methods of learning, and have used them to great effect. This allows me as the teacher to be less of a transmitter of information, and provides the impetus for students to have greater control. These are skills students can use throughout their life, and expands the walls of the traditional classroom.
My philosophy of education is a snapshot that freezes the moment in time where I am as an educator. I will continue to grow, and as I do, my philosophy will evolve while my pedagogy improves.