STATEMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY
My educational philosophy is ever changing. We are all constantly learning, especially as teachers. My philosophy shifts and grows with every day in school, every interaction with a student. There are core beliefs, though, that serve as the foundation. Central to those is the belief that pedagogy should be student-centered, that what and how we teach depends on who we teach. If education is the “practice of freedom,” as bell hooks writes, students must be able to direct their own learning. The classroom is just as much theirs as it is mine, if not more so. As an educator, it is my job to create an environment in which students can learn. I am a teacher who believes strongly in teaching for equity and justice, but I think that belief falls apart if you fail to put a student’s learning in their own hands.
Also at the core of my educational philosophy is the understanding that a student’s learning in school should reflect and prepare them for the world. The world is not divided into subjects. Different disciplines interact and rely on each other. There’s no reason why science, math, ELA, social studies, art, etc. should not be intertwined in schools. Further, I believe that students should be teaching and learning from each other and that they should have opportunities to share their learning. I have been in classrooms where technology is seen as a burden as opposed to a tool that students should be supported in using to further their learning. If students write something, they should be able to publish online should they choose. Or if they write something, they should be able to create something out of that writing.
At the absolute center of my educational philosophy is joy. That does not mean there shouldn’t be moments of discomfort for students. There is discomfort in learning and shifting and growing, but there must also be joy. For so many students, schools are a place where they are expected to mold themselves into someone different. They are expected to leave their interests at the door and be quiet and complacent. It is my belief that there is joy in learning and learning in joy. In order to push through the discomfort of true learning, students have to feel supported. YA author Kwame Alexander said in a panel at NCTE, “they don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” It is my goal that when a student walks through the door to our classroom, they smile, sighing with relief, excited to learn.
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
- Albert Einstein