Every teacher is asked what is their call to teaching? How did you get wrapped up in this profession? Here is my answer to that question:
One of my teaching inspirations comes from a TED talk by Jane McGonigal. In this talk she shows we can use the elements of games to enrich the learning experience for students. More importantly she outlines the concept of the “Epic Win”.
My teaching philosophy is centered in this concept.
I want my students to always be searching for that “Epic Win”, to be lifelong learners, always searching for the answer. Students will be encouraged to work as a team to achieve victory together. Inclusion and wonder are cornerstones to my teaching philosophy. Students will always be included in each and every lesson and encouraged to question and dream. Parallel to my general teaching philosophy is my philosophy of science education, which during internship helped me discover the power of wonder and how wonder transforms lessons in any subject. I hope to assist the next generation of thinkers and problem solvers that can evolve from an educational world that goes beyond the classroom. Utilizing technology will assist me in providing better support to my students and hopefully create an environment that students can embrace.
Differentiation is very important to me as an educator. I started early on developing differentiated lessons in pre-internship using a Physical Education concept called Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU). Here is a great picture of a class engaging in TGFU:
During internship I had more time to develop relationships with students to truly understand their learning needs and use those needs to develop lesson plans. I started using Universal Design for Learning(UDL) as the foundation of my lessons to ensure I was doing my best to include all learning preferences, as presented by VARK. In my internship lesson plans you can clearly see growth in differentiation especially in the areas of Science and Math. By using the UDL lesson approach, classroom management can be reduced by providing engaging lessons in which every student is included and actively participates. What happens though when someone is not “buying in”? I believe as an educator it is my job to actively seek out the passions of each student and include their interests in each lesson. Is it difficult? Without a doubt! But, I value student relationships above all else, and each student deserves the opportunity to be successful, especially in the areas of math and science!
Respect will be paramount in my classroom. Everyone will respect each others’ ability and work as a team toward that concept of the “Epic Win”. By believing in respect and teamwork, students can learn how to be critical thinkers and productive members of the workforce of tomorrow. In pre-internship I thought of using a gamification system to provide classroom management where students can earn points, rewards, and achievements, by displaying expected behaviours in the classroom. However, after my internship and research as a teacher candidate, this may not be the best system. My current belief in classroom management is to create a classroom community in which I “captain the ship” providing direction when required. My students would become a tight knit crew that would all uphold the values and beliefs of the classroom. The values and beliefs of the classroom are created collaboratively with everyone, both teacher and student, having input. Gamification may still have its place in my management strategies, but it would have to be a system created by the classroom community and agreed upon by all members, which includes administration.
Pre-internship opened my eyes to using project based learning and game-based learning. My internship went deeper into student relationships and using multiple teaching strategies, from inquiry to traditional lecture based lessons, to engage students. In the end, the common reflection on each journey is this: I love to teach. There is nothing else in the world I want to do as a career. I walked down the roads of financial services and information technology and was always left wanting. With teaching, I love each and every day, both the highs and the lows. I have incredible passion to provide to students, and it is this passion I want to instill in students. I want students to take their passion and drive forward into life wanting to continue to learn and develop their skills. By creating lifelong learners I will achieve my goal of creating critical thinkers and problems solvers because the students will continue to learn so they can break the unbreakable, and make possible the impossible.