My Philosophy of Education (2012)

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Teaching requires work that gives great rewards. I believe all students can learn. As an administrator I must help both the faculty and students to realize that everyone can learn. I have had the opportunity to touch many lives while teaching math and chemistry, and more recently as a department head. In motivating teachers in my department, I help them learn to give students life skills guided by state and district-mandated curricula. In addition, I use my skills, knowledge, and experiences to help motivate my department to teach the students to problem solve and become lifelong learners. I accomplish this through working with people in groups and building upon scientifically proven methods. I try and model what I expect others to do and accomplish.

For example, while serving as a department head I have had to help certain individuals learn to work together despite personality differences. I had to help them each realized that the best solution was the one that worked for the students and not their individual interpretations of what needed to be done. We continue to work to identify strategies for both teachers and students so we can all work together to help one another learn. This experience has taught me the importance of listening to adults and looking for common ground upon which to start collaborating.

Our schools are becoming increasingly diverse with students from a variety of backgrounds. I believe this diversity richly adds to all students’ education. Every student brings something valuable to a classroom. I must learn what each teacher and students brings to the proverbial “table” and use it to help all students so everyone can gain from the classroom experience.

As I approach each teaching opportunity, I would like my students to have positive experiences and really gain an appreciation for the subject. Perhaps my students will not understand and comprehend all the topics I teach. However, if they come away with an appreciation and knowledge of how to learn then I will have succeeded in teaching. The underlying belief among too many students is “I can’t learn this” when I believe everyone can. I know what education can do for students. If I want to learn something, I know where to look and what skills it will involve. These learning skills I acquired while teaching are equally applicable to working with faculty and staff, helping them realizes their full potential as teachers.

Teaching and administrating with this idealistic view of learning is not easy, and I continue to employ every tool available to me to facilitate this type of learning. This is where I believe technology can truly influence learning. Today students have more information available to them than in previous generations, with the advent of the internet, databases of information, and instantaneous communication. While Clark (1983 and 1994) argues that media cannot influence learning, I believe it can influence teaching. Teaching needs to be rediscovered for the information age. No longer should it be necessary for students to memorize facts, but I believe they should have the skills to find relevant information. They also need skills at interpreting, qualifying, quantifying, and classifying this information. This is the role of the teacher. The role of the administrator is to help the teacher reach his or her full potential and fulfill this difficult role. Teachers and students alike need media literacy. I want to help everyone acquire this media literacy in the school.

Traditionally, many classes are more behavioristic, with a teacher lecturing and students practicing endless drills. But the deeper within a subject a student progresses, the less rote and memorized are the facts. My hope is to help create a school where classes are a blend of the behaviorist learned skills, within the bounds of the information age, and secondly, the cognitive learning ability to reason through everyday “real world” problems. For example, I would like to help teachers develop lesson units that incorporate learning skills by solving problems, similar to how business and industry solve problems.