I believe that each child is a beautiful and unique creation, one rooting from the beliefs and experiences of those who came before him. I see education as an opportunity to contribute to the formation of each unique individual.
My goal as a teacher is to create a community of learners, both within and beyond the classroom. I provide a safe environment by establishing classroom norms, modeling positive behavior, allowing opportunities for free expression, and initiating learning. I reach out to parents and the school community using newsletters, school websites, handwritten notes, and by being present at student drop-off and pick-up, school events, and parent meetings. Parent involvement is expected. I keep both students and parents informed on our classroom happenings, invite parents in as volunteers, and ensure that students and their parents understand that we are a team working towards the same goal: the best education for that unique, individual child.
My role as a teacher is to wear many hats. I must analyze situations to provide my students with the many forms of guidance that they desire and require. In my classroom, I am a facilitator, an assessor, a cheerleader, an inquisitor, an observer, and a helper. Each day, I provide my students with the support that they need.
I believe that students are motivated by the opportunities and choices that are provided to them. My students invest themselves in their own education using the opportunities for choice, exploration, and guidance. I guide my students as they explore their surroundings, interact with their peers, and engage in new learnings. In my classroom, learning is facilitated through thematic units that provide an opportunity for in-depth study, higher-order thinking, and cross-curricular connections.
I believe that students learn best through enriching and engaging activities. Students need to be provided with a variety of activities that address the different types of learners. My students spend time working in whole group, in small groups, with partners, and individually. My students are expected to collaborate, but they are also asked to show independence.
I believe that young learners, especially in our increasingly technologically-connected world, need to be provided immediate feedback and to be constantly engaged. My students will learn through center-based instruction that allows the use of hands-on learning via manipulatives, technological learning via computers and tablets, traditional paper and pencil work, guided group work, and collaborative partner work. By providing students with centers and facilitating rotations, l appeal to and maximize on the attention spans of young learners.
In my classroom, each child is provided with differentiated instruction. Small groups are formed using the data received through assessments and also through my personal knowledge of the students. Each student receives his or her education at the level most appropriate for his or her academic, social, and emotional needs. Each student is considered a unique individual with something unique to offer the classroom, and not just as a piece of data from a test.
I set high expectations for behavior and classroom management from the first day of school onward. My students understand the importance of being responsible, respectful, and safe. I hold each student accountable. My management techniques focus almost exclusively on positive reinforcement, providing students with the responsibility and opportunity to make decisions that will set them up for success. I believe that all students strive to do well; if a student is acting out, I look for an underlying cause. I speak personally to students to understand and prevent future negative behavior. I listen to the students’ wants, needs, and concerns.
As an elementary teacher, I am responsible for providing young students with both a positive learning experience and an engaging environment. I provide this experience through modeling and communication of respect, care, patience, and safety.
Undergraduate Degree: Monmouth College - Bachelors, Elementary Education & Spanish
Graduate Degree: National Louis University - Masters, Master's of Education: Bilingual & ESL Education
ACT Composite: 26
Spending time with family, arts & crafts, sports (basketball & soccer), outdoor activities, reading, writing
What is your teaching philosophy?
My educational philosophy is deeply rooted in the progressivist and humanist theories. As Maria Montessori said, "Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world." Like Montessori, I firmly believe that the primary goal of any teacher is to establish a classroom environment, one that provides students with everything that they will need to learn independently, reflect purposefully, and grow personally. Such an environment encourages students to flourish, as every individual is born intrinsically with the tendency to learn. I similarly draw from John Dewey, who stated, "Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living." As such, I place a large emphasis on exploration of self in my classroom. I believe that building a strong connection with students, in which the students and I have a mutual learning experience, is vital to my role as a teacher. Students are problem-solvers, and I am just a tour guide in their journey to discovery. Progressivists such as Dewey believe that education should focus on the child rather than the subject matter. The students' interests are important, as is an integration of thinking, feeling, and doing. Learners should be active and learn to solve problems by experimenting and reflecting on their experience. Toward this goal, schools should help students develop personal and social values so that they can become thoughtful and productive individuals. Dewey's progressivist philosophy places much more emphasis on the sciences and the social aspect of schooling than solely on the academic outcomes. Dewey asks that students' needs and interests be stimulated through a socially and emotionally focused curriculum where students have both voice and choice. When students are provided with options, they emotionally connect and mentally engage in their learning. Humanists consider learning from the perspective of the human potential for growth or becoming the best one can be. We focus on both the affective and cognitive dimensions of learning. Each student possesses unlimited potential, as long as we provide the choice and opportunity. There is a natural tendency for people to learn, which will flourish if nourishing, encouraging environments are provided. I believe that education, especially at the primary level, should focus on creating individuals who are socially and emotionally prepared to be a part of society. I feel that academics fall second to the importance of confident and motivated individuals who are excited to live and to learn. Each child should be provided with every opportunity to become the best individual that he or she can be.