My Philosophy of Teaching
My philosophy of teaching stems from my firm belief in the importance of recognizing the unique histories, stories, personalities, and rich experiences that has shaped each individual student (and continues to shape them) into the person they are when they enter my class. My approach to teaching focuses on incorporating students’ voices, their cultural backgrounds, and interests into the classroom through collaborative learning activities, supporting student autonomy, and by positioning myself as someone who guides (rather than gives) students towards utilizing important skills. I believe that the classroom is a microcosm of the wider world, filled with diversity and perspectives that we can start to understand when we effectively communicate with each other. It’s in the English classroom that students learn how to utilize the tool of language through writing, reading, critical thinking, and collaboration.
The unique qualities and stories that my students possess must be addressed in the classroom setting. I believe that students are most willing to want to engage in learning when they feel that their individuality is recognized and valued. My philosophy of teaching emphasizes the necessity of addressing the uniqueness of each student by utilizing the Universal Design for Learning and by genuinely expressing interest in getting to know who students are not just as learners, but — more importantly — as individuals. Establishing rapport continuously throughout the year is a fundamental aspect of my teaching philosophy. Students want to feel welcomed, cherished, and valued. Active and engaged learning will not unfold if those needs have not been met. Moreover, providing students with choices in how they learn and how they show what they’ve learned is a key aspect of my philosophy. I want students to take ownership of their learning and know that their voices are being heard.
In my classroom, the act of writing is a path that has no definitive endpoint. Rather, a process-oriented view of writing is emphasized in my classroom. Students will discover that just as with any other skill, writing improves through practice and consistency. Since I believe that collaboration and active listening are critical skills that are developed within the English classroom, the writing workshop design and portfolios are important assessment tools in my class.
Ultimately, I believe that the role of teachers is to provide our students with a toolbox filled with skills and abilities that they can take out and utilize wherever they go in life, whether that be into a career, the military, college, or anywhere else. The English classroom is a space where students develop their voice and critical thinking skills through the recursive act of writing, collaboration, and through actively engaging in the learning process. Students do not benefit from learning solely content knowledge. They benefit from teachers who will help them learn how to hone their critical thinking skills so that they can fully participate and engage in the diverse world that we are all part of. In the English classroom, I plan to guide my students to learning how to use this toolbox and to explore not only their own unique stories, but the stories of those around them as well.