My personal philosophy of education is continually expanding and deepening as I embark on my journey to explore and grow in the teaching field. I have come to view my role as an educator as not the “person with the answers”, not the “sole conveyer of information” but the motivator who guides students to embrace and understand the value of the skills that society requires of them. I believe this approach enables students to be self motivated because they value their own education and thus are motivated to seek it. In this same sense an educator is a purveyor of hope: hope that the students can develop all the abilities they have, hope that education can be meaningful and relevant to a student’s real life needs and hope that education is still the key to a successful future for all students today.
Social Justice for me has a lot to do with how respected and appreciated students feel in the classroom regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status. A classroom with Social Justice can be achieved thru a Democratic Classroom which I will detail how to implement below, under the heading, “Democratic Practices”. The optimal environment for children to thrive in is one that is comfortable, safe, and it is a place where they are appreciated. This, for me, is social justice and democracy in the classroom. We should create classrooms where our students’ opinions matter, where they are listened to and valued and where they learn to listen to and value others. When children know what’s expected and how much is expected and that these expectations are just and universal, they thrive. When students have these things they do more than they ever thought they could!
Life Long Learning
As an educator, I feel my own personal growth and learning must be a life-long process. I believe a person never reaches the point where she no longer has anything to perfect or learn. Being a life-long learner is an essential part of my educational philosophy. The modeling of my personal growth and learning is also a constructivist practice. Another element of constructivist classrooms is the belief that learning happens through building upon a student’s prior knowledge. If learning is constructing meaning from prior experience then my job as a teacher is to link what a student’s interests are and what a student’s experiences are to new concepts and knowledge. When children are given these tools, time and guidance they reach their goals.
I believe a wise teacher heading into the teaching field must capitalize on this continued shift toward diversity in our educational environment. I continue to keep my focus on the strength there is in diversity. When we honor our differences and utilize student diversity and background knowledge in our classrooms, all benefit!