Every single teacher I know came into the profession for a meaningful reason. No one that I have met has ever said "oh, I decided to teach because I wasn't sure what else to do" or "I don't know, I just ended up here!" in the way that sometimes people in other professions sometimes say. Similarly, I think we all have philosophies and beliefs about education- but I personally feel as though perhaps I don't talk about them enough to my students and their families. When I saw Whitney's from With Love from Texas' Beliefs to Action blog hop, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to spend some time focusing on my philosophy.
- All students have the ability to be successful. This is so critical! If students know right off the bat that you believe they can do well, then you have set a precedent. It's true that some students will inherently be more successful than others, but that doesn't take away from the successes of other students.
- Nurturing is an incredibly important part of education, but so is tough love at times. You have all seen it before- some kids just need a hug. They are hurting, lonely, or have a major difficulty in their life which seems insurmountable. Those kids need love and nurturing- there is no doubt about it. I think that teachers need to be skilled in recognizing those moments, but also in recognizing when a kid needs tough love. I grew up in a less than ideal living situation, and remember lamenting about it to my fifth grade teacher. She took me to the hall and said to me "Listen, Mandy. Your life is hard, that's true. It's probably harder than lots of kids in the class. But, they will be applying to the same colleges that you do. They will take the same SATs and final exams in high school. No one will give you extra points because life is tough for you. You have to find a way to work through it." I won't ever forget those words. I'm not saying that all students need this or even that all students would react well to it. I do think, though, it's important to recognize the moments when this conversation, or one like it, is absolutely appropriate to have with a student.
- Instilling confidence in a child can make a tremendous difference in his educational performance. This one really speaks to me. How can a student do well if they don't believe they can do well? It's just not logical. Anyone that has taken a standardized test can tell you that a little bit of confidence goes a long way. Anxiety and lack of confidence will just distract from your focus and lower your chances of performing to the best of your ability. As a teacher, I really believe it is a part of my job to help students to recognize their own abilities and have confidence in themselves.
- Parents, students, and teachers should work together to be part of an educational team. No one portion of the team can do all the work. Each of us has our role, and all of us must do our best to fulfill that role to help students succeed to the best of their ability. What else can I say? Communication and teamwork between all three parts will lead to success!
I really enjoyed writing my beliefs down! Although they were always within me, it had been a while since I sat down and put them into words. I encourage you all to do so, as well! In the meantime, hop on over to Hodge's Herald to see what Elizabeth's educational beliefs are.