Making Dreams Come True

Making Dreams Come True

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Making Dreams Come True

“What do you want to be when you grow up,” asked the second grade teacher.
Little boys and girls raised their hands with enthusiasm and responded with, “ballerina,
football player, princess, race car driver” as the teacher wrote the dreams on the
board. One little girl in the middle of the room had different dreams: she said, “I want
to be a teacher when I grow up!” I was that little girl. When I was eight years old, I
realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to teach.

In Mrs. White’s second grade class I made a discovery. If my peers were having trouble with their work and Mrs. White was busy, I would help. The joy I experienced from helping others, especially my friends, was amazing. I felt very good about myself while I was helping and even better when the classmate received a good grade. I concluded that teaching was the job for me.

I believe that like my peers in second grade, all students want to learn. Some may rebel and act out, they may skip school a lot, but I feel that deep down they want to succeed just like the excellent students. Students want responsibility, work (yes, I said work), encouragement, support, and a mentor. The rebelling students try to deny themselves these values because of low self-esteem. They may believe they cannot succeed and therefore act as though they do not care. My job as a teacher will be to make all students want to learn and broaden their knowledge base.

Relative knowledge is the only true knowledge because it is dependent on the person and the environment. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences show that knowledge is different for different people. There is no set guide for being a knowledgeable person and there should not be. I do agree with essentialists that in mastering the basic core subjects is very important, but that is not all a child needs to learn. The basics are a strong foundation for children to broaden knowledge to fit their interests.

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Public education should not only teach the students basic core subjects, but it should also provide relevant material and experiences to aid them in the future. In conjunction with progressivism, students should be taught how to use these experiences to solve new problems. Public education should allow students to explore various possibilities before they must make a conclusive decision. Many schools are instilling a new program into high schools. This program forces the students to make decisions they may not be ready to make; they must pick a major, minor, and a cluster area. Out of their few electives they must have four classes in their area in order to graduate. For some, this is no problem because they know what they want to do for their lives; however, for others this is a setback. The uncertain student does not get to explore options before going to college or getting a job. Public education should also help the uncertain student become certain about his/her future. It should assist the students in developing who they are and what they want out of life. It also needs to provide experiences that allow the students to both achieve and fail. Achieving allows their self-esteem to grow and helps them acknowledge their capabilities; failing prepares them for inevitable failures that will come after high school.

As a teacher I will not only try to provide these experiences, but I will also do much more. I want my students to know that they can achieve their goals, it may take many years and a lot of work but it can happen. I also want to teach my students to love and respect themselves. Mistakes happen, that does not mean that we cannot overcome them. I also want to provide variety in my curriculum to accommodate visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners. Most importantly I want to make school fun. Teachers can sneak in difficult material and unpopular items into fun activities that make students want to come to school. Goals for my students are for them to reach individuality, become model citizens, widen their knowledge base, and set life goals.

Teachers need to use most of their allocated time in academic learning time and engaged learning time. After the first few weeks, teachers should wait and do the clerical duties when the students are reading; doing seatwork, or other activities that do not require the teacher’s immediate involvement. Teachers also need to use higher order questions frequently. Allowing the students to think through a situation enhances skills needed for solving problems after high school. Teachers should still use some lower order questions as not to overwhelm the students.

As well as using academic learning time, engaged learning time, and higher order questions, I will also use many other methods of teaching. I will implement project-based instruction because I feel it can accurately prepare students for the outside world. It aids children in their problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, which are all needed to be successful. I will also use hands on activities and take the students on field trips when possible because I believe that students remember better and can relate more to situations they can experience not just hear about. In concordance with existentialism, students should influence the curriculum. If time is running out and we must narrow down our activities, then the students should be allowed to decide what we eliminate. They should also be active participants in class discussions and projects. As a social studies teacher, I will try to encourage many cultural opportunities: this may include trips to cultural performances, projects on various cultural holidays and beliefs, and guest speakers. I agree with behaviorists that clarification or chunking is very beneficial because the students can take more time to let material sink in. As a teacher I will use group alerting and productive feedback not only for my students but also from them and their parents in order for me to adjust my teaching procedures as needed.

I am confident that the best way to manage discipline in the classroom is to allow the students to be involved in the rule making process. I plan to permit the students to set the classroom rules and punishments unless there are set school procedures. A major rule I will add is respect for themselves, other students, teachers, the administration, and service personnel. I will also use least intervention as not to disrupt classroom work.

Social studies is a very important and needed area in public schools. It allows students to understand what is going on today because of the past. For example, unless people understand the history of the Muslims and the Jews, they will never understand the Middle Eastern conflict. It also helps the past from being repeated. Many believe that the Jewish genocide in World War II occurred because the devastation of the Armenian genocide of World War I had already been forgotten. Showing students the rights and wrongs of our country, state, or town also allows them to take pride in where they are from without them becoming egocentric. Social studies classes are perfect places to discuss, evaluate, and propose different possibilities of past events. This helps students in developing critical thinking.

After I achieve my Bachelor of Science degree in education with a specialization in social studies and my Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Concord, I wish to further my education. I plan to earn my Master’s from Concord and gain National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. After gaining tenure and teaching for five to ten years I plan to pursue my doctorate in history. I plan to teach high school social studies in Monroe County West Virginia. I want to teach high school because that will be the last chance for some to change the way they live. I plan to touch kids’ hearts in a way that they will realize the possibilities that exist for them.

To be a great teacher, one must encompass a variety of techniques to reach out to different types of learners and students. That is why my philosophy is a mixture of progressivism, essentialism, existentialism, social reconstructivism, and behaviorism. Basic subjects are an important foundation that leads to individuality, personal decision-making, and preparation for the outside world. Students need to be active participants, influence curriculum, be exposed to different cultures, and be taught in parts. I will be a mentor and counselor, a person to be trusted and respected, and I will dedicate my life to helping others achieve their dreams. People will sometimes ask me why I want to become a teacher and spend the rest of my life in school. Many times I will respond with, “I love helping kids and I love history, so teaching is perfect for me.” But, there is so much more to it than that. I want to change the world, to broaden the horizons, and to secure our future into the hands of students who can respect, love, and admire the wisdom and courage of the people who have went before them. I want to teach.
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