This was the central focus of my college essay titled Philosophy of Teaching. While completing my final internship at the same middle school I attended as a student, my college professor said, “You must know Why you’re going into this profession and How will you accomplish it.” Have you ever had such a “hit you in the gut” question asked of you before? This was certainly one of those for me. Once I started writing, I realized exactly Why I wanted to teach and help kids.
I want every child to know they aren’t alone and that someone cares.
Not until I reached high school, did I feel that a teacher really saw Me as a person and not just a student number and another test to grade. One teacher that made the effort to connect with me and cared enough to know who I was and wanted to be. My sweet, sweet Math teacher would allow me to eat lunch in her room sometimes. She sensed that I wasn’t comfortable among the crowd of other kids. She listened, she asked questions, she paid attention… Eventually, she gave me the courage to join a club that worked with younger kids. This amazing teacher saw something that I didn’t see in myself at the time; that I loved helping other people and had a nurturing way about me. I eventually became president of the FEA(Future Educators of America) Club. It was then, I knew I wanted to teach and/or be a Psychologist. If it hadn’t been for her, I don’t think I ever would have made it through college. I saw her sweet, caring face in every struggle that came my way and I carried on.
Thank you, Mrs. Spaulding
As I reflect on my 20 years in the classroom now, my Philosophy of Teaching essay still rings true. Anyone who works with children must possess an ethic of care. This is not one that simply cares that a student passes your tests and the class or adheres to every rule you put forth but rather one that lays a foundation that fosters trusting relationships in which children can achieve both academically and personally throughout their lifetime. My philosophy on teaching? Teach the whole child; get to know the whole person. Spend time developing trusting relationships where they feel safe, heard, encouraged, and inspired. Peak their curiosity. Go to their awards ceremonies and cheer for them at their games(even when you’re tired). Sometimes, you may be the only one. Remind them that you will always be there for them as they embark upon their own journeys in life.
One of my friends recently said, “Teaching is a thankless job.” Those “thank you’s” may not come immediately but they do come in small and beautiful ways-sometimes years later when they invite you to lunch or their college graduation.
University of Miami graduate-now off to med school. So proud of you! 🙂