I was recently asked to write down my philosophy of education and it made me think a little about what I believe in with regards to education and my teaching. Like many of you, I have been asked to write (and rewrite) this simple, yet powerful document for different college classes through the years and I have found that there are almost always changes each time. The changes aren't usually anything major, but every time I have revised and rewritten my philosophy of education there has been something to add or take away.
I challenge you to take a few minutes and revisit your philosophy of education from when you were in school and reread it to see if it still makes sense for who you are as an educator. If you feel the need to make some changes go ahead and change it and then re-save it as a new document with the date on it somewhere so you can see what your views were at this point in your career. Once you have the document all updated, place it somewhere you will be able to see it regularly to keep an eye on what you believe, what you feel strongly about. Who knows, it might even be a help to get through those difficult days we all seem to face while teaching those we are entrusted to at school.
I thought I'd share mine as way of having a record, so it is listed below.
Every student is expected to learn certain things as they pass through a K-12 education system, whether public or private. These certain things are considered by many to be the “3 R’s”: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. I feel the world in which we currently live has an additional requirement and it doesn’t even have an “R” in it, Technology. We live in a digital world where technology literacy is just as important as language literacy and if our students pass through 13 years of an education system and they haven’t achieved a high enough level of technological literacy, then their education system has failed them.
I also believe that in order for any relationship to succeed you have to have a level of trust included. As an educator, I am not here to be friends with the students, but instead am striving to help them become successful members of society. In order for me to help push them along, they have to trust that I am working to help them improve themselves. By creating a learning environment where the students feel safe and are willing to make mistakes I am most capable of achieving my goal of helping them succeed. As long as I am able to help them feel safe enough to risk making mistakes and possibly even failing, I know they will be able to gain a true love of learning and be more likely to develop a desire to become lifelong learners.
Because I am so desirous to see my students succeed and become the best possible members of society, I have very high expectations for all of them. I don't care if they are high-achieving learners (gifted & talented), lower achieving (special education students), or on-grade level students, I expect the very best they can do and nothing less. I will always push them to try to do a little more than they believe is possible because I want them to realize they are their only limitation in school and in life.
I have a motto in my classroom that states, "Work Hard, Play Hard," and I do my best to live and teach by it. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but we also try to have as much fun as possible because it is important to keep school and learning enjoyable for the kids. We try to have at least one fun activity each week to show the students that school isn't just about work but that we can also have fun. I like to show my kids that there is nothing wrong with having fun, but that it is important to prioritize and do the most important things first.