My Always-Changing Teaching Philosophy

I did not really know my teaching philosophy before I went into the three-week block. However, when I was asked to bring my teaching philosophy I brought a copy of my entry essay into the Education program. When I read through it, I managed to find pieces that did reflect my teaching philosophy.

In the essay, I talked about two teachers that reaffirmed my decision to become a teacher. A line that I had written was, “As a teacher, I want to bring this excitement and appreciation for learning into the classroom.” I believe that this hasn’t changed for me because I do want to bring my excitement about English into the classroom. However, I realized that it is a challenge to be excited about something when the students look back at you with blank faces as you ramble on about Grimm’s fairy tales. This event that happened was when I was team teaching an English A10 class and we were talking about foundational stories. We had the students split up so that each group would take the Disney version, the Grimm’s version, and the kids’ version of the Grimm’s. We did this for three different stories for three days in a row and I became excited because I love Disney movies and I love to compare them to the actual Grimm’s version. I would try and let the students talk and tell me about the differences between each of the three. It was challenging because not every student will love English the way I do.

Another part in my essay was about a teacher who “assisted and inspired me to become a dedicated, organized and passionate student” and that I will “bring those great skills into my future classroom. This statement is very true because I am dedicated and passionate about English and I found that I did bring those skills into the classroom. Organization, though, I found was a bit difficult. I had one binder that I kept everything in and I found it hard to keep track of everything. I need to become more organized when I do my internship placement.

The final sentence that I wrote in my essay was “I look forward to being a part of my students’ lives and being a part in the classroom.” This was very true for my three-week block because I did get to know the students I was with. I had fun speaking with some of the boys in my A10 class about trucks and how Ford is better than Dodge. I do want to be a part of my students’ lives and show them that I do care about their education.

Finally, I had the eye-opening experience that not every student attends class and hands in every assignment. I come from a small Kindergarten to Grade twelve school where everyone attended every day and if they didn’t somebody knew why they weren’t at the school and everyone handed in assignments. So because of this experience, I expected to have students in full attendance and hand in every assignment. When I went out to my school for the three-week block, I was shocked to have only half of the students hand something in to me. Also, I found that I didn’t even get to meet some of the students because they didn’t even show up in the three-weeks that I was teaching at. On that note, I am glad that my school doesn’t give late marks because I feel a lot of students would not pass their classes.

Overall, I believe that my teaching philosophy is developing slowly. I believe that students should be given a choice in almost everything they do and that teachers are just there to guide them. Even something as simple as “Can I go to the bathroom?” could be answered with “My concern is that you are going to miss an important part of my lesson. You choose.” Giving students authority over their own decisions gives them full responsibility on everything they do whether it’s on assignments or simple requests.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to write another post to finish up anything major that happened during my last week of pre-internship. 

On Thursday, I had one lady who thought I was a student. I was with the drama 10 class and they had to  go to the computer and do a survey on technology. The lady who was running the survey online looked at me and asked, “So are you not doing this? Do you need a computer?” I was a little bit shocked because I was wearing a high-waisted skirt and heels and I thought I looked fairly professional. I did find it a bit funny, though, because I guess it means I still I look young!

On the same day, I gave students a choice in period four! They were finishing up an assignment and by the end I went around to a couple of students who I knew were not finished the assignment and said, “You can either hand something in now, not hand anything in, or email your main teacher by tonight with the assignment and then she can pass it on to me.” Some of the students knew what they were going to do right away and so most of them handed in what they had finished. 

In that same English A10 class, this one student kept getting distracted by his two friends. This final class, I went up to him and said that maybe he should think about moving to a different location to work alone — like the front of the room. He agreed. When I spoke to my co-op about this, she said that he knows that he needs to work by himself and sometimes he will take initiative and move himself. I said that we should have moved him from the beginning but she said that we shouldn’t always baby them because they need to learn themselves. I did agree with her. 

Overall, a great experience! I really enjoyed it and my co-op was fantastic. My adviser was also fabulous!! I really enjoyed the school and getting to know my students. They were a lot of fun and I would definitely go back to that school. 

 

Almost Finished!

I cannot believe how time has flown! Here is an event that happened in today’s class. 

Last Friday, my co-op told me that I needed to work on being stern. So today I had to bring out the stern.

In period four, I was the only one teaching because my partner had to teach Art. My co-op was in the room but I basically took over and ran the show. It was a work period for the A10s and most of them were actually being productive. I allowed three boys to go and use two computers since they were doing the same Disney show, Hercules. I asked two of the boys who were sharing the same computer again and again to focus on Hercules but they kept going onto YouTube and Facebook. Finally, I asked a third time and they ignored me so I leaned over and said, “Alright, if you aren’t going to focus on Hercules then you don’t need to be on the computer,” and I shut it off on them.

            After they sat there in stunned silence for a moment, they began to talk about Hercules. The third boy who had a computer to himself closed all his YouTube tabs and began researching Hercules.

            I believe I needed to give them that extra firmness because I was being too soft with them in the previous lessons. They wanted to see how far they could push and they finally reached my limit.

            I talked to my co-op teacher afterwards and she agreed that I did the right thing with them. Then she showed me a book that talked about giving students choice and motivating the unmotivated students. I agree that giving students choice is a good idea to do especially when it comes to assignments. This book, however, talked about giving students choice in what you ask them to do. It could be simple things like: “Can I sharpen my pencil?” “If you can do so without disturbing the class. It’s your choice.” By saying something like that it allows them to have more freedom and to actually think about what they are asking. It gives the students more responsibility in their actions. For my situation, I could have told the students who were being disruptive and on YouTube, “You have two choices: You can either close YouTube or focus on your work or you can leave the computer. Your choice.” By saying this, they might have done the right move or it would have resulted in the action that I ended up taking.