My Educational Philosophy The best teachers I remember in my life

The best teachers I remember in my life were respected by their students, and seen as mentors and role models. I hope to be such a teacher. My class is a place of mutual discourse, where students feel comfortable speaking their minds, a place where discussion and cooperation are encouraged. I believe learning is a social-cognitive interactive process.

My classroom is not a classroom of rules. Students assume the responsibilities for many of the tasks that need to be done. These responsibilities are rotated among all students on a regular basis. Discipline in the classroom hopefully follows from the students' interest in the subject matter, and a sincere desire to learn.

Learning in my classroom is collaborative. While I do see a role for the traditional lecture, where I impart my knowledge to the students in a predominantly one-way transfer, this will only be one aspect of a varied curriculum.

My classes start with a brief description of the intended goals of the session, and a review of the day's agenda. I incorporate a brief wrap-up at the end of class, summarizing what was accomplished, and how the day's activities fit into the long- term goals and objectives of the class.

I utilize many alternative teaching methods and tools, designed to accommodate different types of learners, with a heavy emphasis on activities like role playing, games, and group presentations; learning is collaborative, not competitive. I want to inspire students to take an active role in helping each other, and learning from each other. Hands-on activities play an important role.

I provide reading material at various levels of readability within the reading range of my students. Textbooks play a peripheral role, as a tool, not as an end in themselves. Most textbooks do not contain sufficient depth, and often do not provide sufficient explanations. I agree with the assertion that textbooks and trade books in tandem help students think more critically about the subject matter. I utilize many other sources of information, incorporating a variety of materials into my curriculum. These may include trade books, videos, and guest speakers. I will consider using any textbooks recommended (or required) by my district, if such recommendations exist. I determine the reading level of all texts used in my classes by a combination of techniques, including the Fry graph and the cloze procedure.

I use both summative and formative evaluations to assess my students' reading levels and their ability to understand the assigned materials. These include prereading and post reading activities such as graphic organizers, KWL charts, discussions, question arounds, and observations. I adjust the nature and amount of reading material assigned in response to the results of these assessments.

Technology also plays an important role in my classroom. I encourage and promote the use of computer-based tools, multimedia presentations, the Internet, and educational teaching software. Computers free students from laborious tasks, enabling them to expend more cognitive energy on communications. They also provide incentive and encouragement from improvement. The goal is to leave my students with a familiarity with computer based learning, so they will not hesitate to turn to technology when it is appropriate in the future.

I hope to relate to my students on many levels: as a teacher, mentor, role model, and sometimes as a friend and confidant. My goal is to inspire them to learn how to learn, and to seek knowledge on their own, not because they are told to, but because they are interested and curious about the world around them.