Education should be more than just sitting students in a classroom and having them memorize facts. As an educator, I feel it is important to teach students the facts they need, while also helping to guide them along their life path. In my classroom I want students to feel welcomed, supported, challenged, and encouraged.
During my 16 years of teaching, I have tried a number of strategies to help motivate students to learn. When I first started teaching, I thought students would approach their school work as I did-You do the work because that is what is expected of you! However it did not take me long to realize that the students of today demand a more "practical" approach to teaching. They want to know why and how they will use the concepts in the real world. Teaching has been an on-going learning experience for me, and I enjoy the ever changing atmosphere of the classroom.
One of my first assumptions as a teacher was that I only needed to teach one way and all the students would understand. Students would try to do more challenging work, but would quickly use excuses for not wanting to keep trying or not finishing. As I listened to the students talk about the events in their lives, I realized the passion they had for the games, TV shows, and activities they did. I wanted them to have the same passion about math! So I realized I needed to make math as much fun as those things were, actually change the math language into their language. I started to build more personal relationships with my students, learning what things they liked and didn't like. Every class had its own dynamic when it came to the sports or music they liked. I used this information to build math concepts into activities they would respond to.
Listening and being receptive to student's needs is the largest lesson I have learned. Because each semester or school year a new class begins, it is important to build the relationship because I have found, students who respect their teacher are more motivated to do the work and push themselves.
Undergraduate Degree: Regis University - Bachelor of Science, Computer and Information Sciences, General
Graduate Degree: Regis University - Master of Science, Computer and Information Sciences, General
Playing chess watching my favorite sports teams (Lakers, Raiders, Dodgers)