Having grown up in a house with at least one teacher present at all times, I should have expected that one of my sisters or myself would end up in education. As the child who would rather call a book "friend" than someone her own age, I knew I would not be happy in a career that did not involve reading or writing. My main inspiration came from high school English teachers who helped me rediscover my love for reading, even with the less desirable essays. When I chose secondary education with a focus in ELA, it was more about the content than actually having to teach. Over the past few years, I have been able to realize why I want to teach.
The community where I live has historically been underprivileged while I have not. My classmates were not afforded the same opportunities as me even though we lived in the same zip code. Any attempts to make up for what the schools lacked in funding, resources, or support could only be made in the classroom. I have heard former classmates discuss their schools and school system with disdain and all positive comments attributed to the only people who they felt looked out for them, their teachers. For a while, I was simply angry at the differences in achievement that stemmed from a lack of opportunity and support. All students deserve access to quality education, regardless of background or situation. They deserve the chance to choose a career and have the skills to make themselves marketable and self-improving. I became a member of local and international organizations geared towards increasing literacy in my community and around the world. Being surrounded by educators who felt that it was their privilege and duty to make determined and motivated learners of their students, I started to believe that I could be one of the teachers who impacted my students the way my peers' teachers did. I want to bring out my students' potential by educating and encouraging them to educate themselves. I feel like my teaching philosophy can be summed up with my version of a familiar saying, "Give a student a book and they'll read for a class period. Teach a student to read, and they'll be a life-long learner." No opportunity will be out of reach for a student who not only knows information but knows how to learn new information. They can discover their own skills, develop new ones, and help others find their own.
I've spent most of my observation time in high schools but had the chance to observe and participate in a middle school enrichment camp this summer. In addition, I work with elementary-age students at my job, ensuring that secondary is the place for me. I prefer high school in terms of content, specifically 12th grade because they study British literature. Another reason I prefer high school relates to why I want to teach overall. Students in high school are on what may be their last chunk of formal education before they enter the work force. Teaching middle school, I would be able to affect and inspire my students the same way. However, that work may be undone by a teacher that they have in high school. Most people remember their high school years more vividly than middle school. As they enter the workforce or continue their education, the skills they hone and develop in high school will stick with them. The end goal for any of my students is for them to be successful, innovative, critical thinkers who are consistently and persistently achieving set goals and aiming for new goals. Even if I don't end up teaching 12th grade, I still want to equip my students with the tools to succeed and exceed expectations in their other classes and in the future. My motivation to teach begins and ends with making a better future for all by molding and shaping tomorrow's leaders.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of South Alabama - Current Undergrad, Secondary Education and English with French minor
Literature, movies, cooking, swimming, theatre, music, and writing!
What is your teaching philosophy?
Taking a text in "chunks" or sections helps with comprehension. It makes understanding more manageable rather than a full, overwhelming text. Identifying the small ideas throughout a text and documenting it helps with understanding the text as a whole. Keeping up with what's going on helps the student see the flow of the text and how the organization keeps the main ideas in order.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know them. Figure out which learning style fits them the most. Assess where they are and where their knowledge should be.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I ascribe to the "I do, we do, you do" teaching strategy. If a student sees a demonstration, is guided through the process, and can complete it themselves, they will better retain a concept.