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Whether we know it or not, throughout life many people mold and shape our lives. These are the people that make us who we are today. I am simply talking about one person in particular, a teacher. Teachers’ change lives every day without even sometimes realizing it. Erich Fromm said it best when he stated, “Education is helping the child realize his potentialities.” Knowing that I could have a positive effect on a child’s life is the main reason for my teaching career. In this paper, I will explain why I want to teach, my educational goals, and the philosophy that I will use during my teaching career.
From my grade school years, I had always thought of being a pediatrician. Even during my senior year while filling out my college application, my major would be Pre-Med Biology. However, it was during that same year that I started teaching for the Wednesday night youth group at my church. Although it was very informal teaching, I knew that I had a knack for it. I also started teaching 5 ladies piano lessons during my senior year. One by one, they would tell me how wonderful I would be at teaching. But I will still very unsure about the whole idea. After that year of teaching, I knew that teaching was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Education plays a vital role in our society. Becoming a teacher is not a fashionable choice by our society, but it is crucial. Many people claim that the teaching profession doesn’t pay enough and are quickly unenthusiastic to enter the field. Is changing the life of one child at a time not enough? Another common misconception the public has about teaching is that bright people should enter another profession. When I finally decided that teaching was what I wanted to do with my life, I was told so many times that I needed to do something that would benefit my life. I was too smart to be a teacher. My reply was always, “Who taught the doctor the human anatomy?” Who taught the lawyer about the ways of the law?
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Teaching is indeed a profession where one must be on top of their game. As a teacher, you need to keep up to date educational news and be eager to learn new innovative ways to teaching. These last few years are excellent examples of that. 6 years ago, most people hadn’t heard of Power Point or Microsoft Word for that matter. Now, it’s used in most everything we do.
It is not only important that you know your subject matter, but that you present if in a valuable manner. Creativity plays a key role in presenting material, especially at the elementary level. There is no correct way to teach creativity. It cannot really be taught. You either have it or you don’t! When I taught my ladies how to play the piano, I used many different techniques. We would use little sayings such as “Every Good Boy Does Find” for learning the line notes of the treble clef. Or, I would run off little coloring sheets that you would have to try and find all the rests or dynamic markings. After you found them all, the final picture would be in the shape of a piano or musical note. The students enjoyed these approaches, and it helped when it came time for recitals.
My teaching would center around one thing- enthusiasm! This is a communicable disease! If the teacher has it, the students will catch it! I want my students to enjoy coming to school everyday and realizing their potential. As a teacher, I might be the only bright light in their day; the one who asks them how their day is going or be the one that smiles at them. I want my students to feel welcome when entering my classroom.
As an elementary teacher, I hope to accomplish many things in my classroom. I want to motivate my children. I want them to walk away from my classroom knowing only how to count money and tell time, but how to deal with problems that transpire everyday. I want them to learn responsibility and be able to think for themselves. I want them to learn that no problem has just one resolution; there are various ways to deal with that problem and they should look at each resolution before deciding what to do. I want each child to know that it doesn’t matter what background they come from. In this nation, they can accomplish many things with an enthusiastic attitude followed by hard work. Some of the most important life lessons come from outside the classroom. I want my students to recognize that every experience is a life learning experience.
My classroom will be structured, and each student will be treated fairly. I believe in the self-fulfilling prophesy. If you expect a lot from students, you get it! My classroom will have class rules that the class will help establish the first day of school. I believe by allowing the students to help make the rules, they will not only understand all the rules, but also be more apt to follow them as well. I will respect all my students. I will recognize their individuality and their uniqueness in each one. By showing respect, they will, in return, respect me. Detention or other similar punishments can solve most problems such as missing homework or talking during class. In teaching elementary school, I hope that I will not encounter many behavior problems. However, problems are inevitable and will occur. I think that when a problem arises, the parent(s) should be notified. Many problems are noticed in elementary school. If such problems are identifies early on, and dealt with accordingly, the child usually can overcome these problems.
Elementary school is a vital component in society. To move on to bigger and better things, one must know the basics. Learning how to hold a pencil, read a fairy tale, perform simple math tasks, name all nine planets, and even identifying all seven continents are all things that are taught in elementary school. Not only is the main curriculum taught in elementary school, but there is also a hidden curriculum. Where will a child learn to sit quietly, raise your hand, and wait to be called on?
I have a diverse philosophy. I believe in essentialism because without the basics, how can one learn anything else? Discussion is one of the teaching methods identified with essentialism. I think discussion is an excellent way for students to not only think for themselves, but practice communication skills. These skills are important in society. I also believe in social reconstructionism. Cooperative learning, role playing, creative thinking, and problem solving are all teaching methods identified with social reconstructionism. Cooperative learning is a great way for students to learn to work well with one another. Role playing is a great way for students to practice real world situations. While teaching my youth group, I would let the kids work together on bible projects to practice communication skills. This in return was a great tool in role playing. Creative thinking and problem solving go hand in hand. These are wonderful methods when the children are read a problem and we discuss numerous ways to solve that problem.
I also believe in progressivism. What better way to learn than through experience? A child can read about the beach, see pictures of the beach, and even hear the sounds of the beach, but stepping on the beach and feeling the sand move beneath your feet is something that cannot be taught, no matter how in-depth the study is. You only find that emotion through experience.
Upon receiving my elementary education degree from Concord College, I plan on getting a job in southern West Virginia. I plan to further my education by working on obtaining my master’s degree in reading or special education from Marshall University or West Virginia University.
I cannot wait until I become a teacher. I think that this quote by William Butler Yeats sums up my entire paper. “Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire.”