English philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote that education is “one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.” As a Social Studies educator, it is my job to ensure that students never buy into Russell’s pessimistic philosophy. I believe that we have the ability to discredit such negative viewpoints. Simply put, my philosophy of education grows from the seed of one simple idea- all students can learn and excel. The teacher’s role is to model the behaviors of a passionate lifelong learner and to serve as an advocate for the development of young scholars into well-rounded individuals. Through a rigorous curriculum, rooted in constructivist, progressive education, we have the ability to contribute to the growth of students into critical and creative thinkers who will be the leaders of the future.
Every lesson I teach begins with a motivational “hook” designed to give personal meaning to that day’s project. By facilitating a student-centered environment that fosters collaboration, higher-level thinking, and hands on learning, I believe I instill a sense of passion and connectedness to the material. By constructing individually differentiated lessons that integrate multiculturalism and offer solid scaffolding, it is possible to create an atmosphere of guided discovery that empowers students and builds self-confidence. Creating this kind of healthy academic environment requires a humanistic approach. I believe it is essential to get to know the student as a whole person in order to make learning more meaningful. Careful consideration of student academic data, curiosity about students’ interests, and collaboration with other teachers is essential to acquiring the tools to create personalized learning and assessment.
As a student of theatre as well as history, I have found that entertainment can also be a key to creating strong connections to the material. Multimedia sources, role-playing, and hands on technology, have been critical tools in keeping students engaged and excited. By promoting an enthusiasm for learning, and always modeling a positive attitude, I believe that the skills students develop in my classroom will give them access to unlimited opportunities in the future. In my classroom, students are encouraged to take intellectual risks and expand their limits. I tell my students not to wait to be the leaders of tomorrow, but to begin showing leadership today. Setting high standards for my students and myself, my goal is to be a key resource and guide for the next generation of critical and imaginative thinkers.