“Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
I believe that each and every child is an exceptional individual whom requires a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. My aim as an educator is to assist students to reach their fullest potential by providing an environment that is safe, welcoming, supports risk taking and invites students to share ideas. As I reflect on my beliefs regarding teaching and learning I have discovered as a teacher my principles are threefold:
* To promote positive learning;
* To spark learner enthusiasm for learning;
* To provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
This philosophy directly stems from the theory of constructivism where the teacher plays a crucial role as he/she acts as a facilitator of learning and the student is active and engaged in planned and organized learning experiences. When the teacher’s role is to guide, providing access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information, the students’ search for knowledge is met as they learn to find answers to their questions. For students to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Providing students access to hands-on activities and allowing adequate time and space to use materials that reinforce the lesson being studied creates an opportunity for individual discovery and construction of knowledge to occur (Snowman, 2009).
As an educator it is pertinent to make the material meaningful and relevant to students’ life and interests. Developing a curriculum around student interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. Often this means that material should take the direction relevant to student interest and to invite student discussions about the lessons and units of study. I believe that when students are given the opportunity to have their say and generate ideas about which avenue they want their learning to go makes for much richer activities. This ultimately results in students feeling they have ownership in the curriculum where often they are more motivated to work harder and master the skills necessary to reach their goals.
One of my hopes as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them. I feel there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children. In our competitive society it is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. I believe teaching with clarity, empathy, and sincere enthusiasm, effectively impacts learners, ultimately connecting them to their ‘passion’ and lifelong learning.