Teaching Philosophy

My passion is people, specifically teenagers. I believe I have something important to say and I believe this is the best profession to get that out there. I believe teenagers in this world are bombarded with messages from the media about who they are and what they should be that are absolutely false. I want my students to walk out of my classroom with their head screwed on their shoulders better than it was when they walked into my classroom. I want them to leave knowing one more thing about who they are, how they learn and how they can contribute to a world that seems to be falling apart at the seams. I want my students to have a sense of accomplishment while not being afraid to get the answer wrong. I want them to be confident in their learning and have a strong sense of common sense. I want them to see my deep respect and love for other people and take that attitude with them when they go.

I want to assist in creating critical thinkers who spend time wondering about everything from the nature of science to their environmental affect  to the consequences of what they say and do. My personal goal is to show my students that I am passionate about people. I would hope they see my passion and develop their own passions.

I want my students to know that I love my subject area but I by no means, know it all. I want to give them useful strategies to be able to find information when they do not understand something. I want to help make a generation of people who know how to use technology to their learning benefit. The devices that we usually carry in our pockets or back packs, connect to a domain of information that is far too much for one teacher to handle. But if I can show them how to use technology to help them learn, then I do not need to pretend to know everything. Over the years, a teacher’s job has gone from providing answers to being a learning facilitator. In most cases, it is faster for students to “Google” something then to put up their hand and wait for the teacher. I do not believe that this makes my job obsolete, it just changes the job description. My job is to now develop curiosity, ask questions, teach them how to ask good questions and show them how to find good answers.

I have changed my thinking from being a “teacher of chemistry” to a “teacher of people“. @RickSeaman has encouraged me to think about my students as people, who carry their own sets of attitudes and beliefs about learning, teachers and the content that they are taught. I have learned that we need to first worry about their attitudes and beliefs towards learning before we can even begin to shove more information at them. As I have studied curriculum I have been focusing on the “goals of education,” they are:

Basic Skills
Lifelong Learning
Understanding and Relating to Others
Self Concept Development
Positive Life Style
Spiritual Development
Career and Consumer Decisions
Membership in Society
Growing with Change

What surprised me is that only one of those goals is directly related to content. If we only teach the basic skills of reading, writing, and problem solving we are missing %89 of the goals. I am excited to continue to learn about how to connect to my students as people, and touch on all the goals, while still covering all the content curriculum.

I want my students to do what they love and love what they do. These two phrases mean something special to me. To “do what we love” is to find something that makes us dance. Doing what we love is essential to our happiness and self awareness. To “love what we do” is very different. Every day and almost every hour we find ourselves in positions that we did not expect. I believe it is important to find joy and at the very least, contentment in what we are doing, even if that activity is not our first choice. Part of being content in what we do, is knowing exactly who we are and where we came from. Whether a student’s life has a rocky or solid past, it has shaped who they are and that makes them important. I want them to know that they are important.

I believe that every student can learn and find success in school if we create the opportunities for them to do so. When you know your students and are aware of what makes them tick, what helps them learn and what their needs are, that student will be successful if you act upon what you know about them. My supervising teacher in my internship called our students “little pups”. Most of them were not little, in fact, many of the grade 12 students towered above us. But she was careful to remind me that the wonderful thing about teenagers, is that they are still changing, they can still be vulnerable and they always need to know you care. After my experiences, I can not agree more.

Please do not leave this page without leaving a comment. I would love to know who you are, where you are from and what your own philosophies are. Do not be afraid to invest in who I am as a teacher! Leave your twitter name or website so I can invest in you!

This page is ALWAYS under construction. As I change so does my philosophy.

18 responses to “Teaching Philosophy

  1. Another great post, Randi! You have a great head on your shoulders and will be an excellent role model to the teenagers you are so passionate about.

    Keep inspiring others and sharing your insights and learning experiences!

  2. Thank you Randi for articulating your philosophy so well. It is a reminder for all educators, but especially for those that have lost the passion, why we must continue to put in the extra effort required to change old habits and explore what it means to be a learner once again.

  3. It is great to read your post Randi, inspirational. It is so good to see another educator that is positive and inspired – stay away from the jaded, they can bring you down. Help and inspire them as much as possible but be true to yourself and what you posted here.

  4. Randi, I got to your blog via John Miller who is a fabulous educator and practices your philosophy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It sounds like you have the foundation and character to become a gifted educator. Teaching is truly about so much more than the curriculum. I wish you a career filled with joy.

  5. You know I’m there for you, Randi. I’ll definitely invest in you. I love the way that you’ve done this, and I’m excited to be a tiny part of your growth as a new teacher. You’re going to do amazing things for our kids.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and passion, Randi! I agree with all of your beliefs. Yes, teaching is the best ever profession (but also one of the hardest)! My name is Ivan and I live on Sakhalin Island (Far East of Russia). Found your post via Alec Couros RT on Twitter.

  8. Your passion and energy for the profession shine through you philosophy. You’re maturity and awareness that you and your philosophy will change is rare!

    Thanks for reminding me (teaching 14 years now) to write down my own philosophy once more.

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks for sharing, Randy! It is easy to lose sight of why one became a teacher once one becomes caught up in the craziness of teaching itself. Thanks for bringing me back to my pre-service years (only three years ago) and the development of my own teaching philosophy! I think it is so important to let each student know how valuable they are, how valuable his or her input is to the class…

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  11. This is a fantastic blog, Randi. It was inspiring to be a T.A. in this course.
    I am taking a course in University Teaching right now and I am supposed to chat with people about their dossiers and course outlines. Any chance I could talk to you about your experiences?

  12. Anna, Thank you so much for your comments! I can see how my philosophy might be deceiving but I am not a teacher yet, I am still in University, but if you still would like to chat that would be great. Just let me know.

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  14. So nice to read your philosophy of education. Such a positive outlook, and genuine understanding of students will serve you well in the upcoming years as you progress through your career. I wholeheartedly agree with your view point. As educators the common denominator in our day is that those we deal with are more than simply “students”, and therefore teaching content cannot be our only focus – rather the person/people in our classroom should be.

  15. Wow! your passion for people/students and your chosen profession is communicated quite well. Your students will be blessed to have you as a learning “facilitator”.

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