Teaching Philosophy

    Being a teacher requires connecting with students and leading them to understand and learn. You measure your success as a teacher by the progress your students make. A teacher cannot successfully induce learning if he is impatient or lacking in understanding and therefore those qualities should be minimized in every prospective teacher. The qualities that should be encouraged are those of patience, respect, and passion

    During a teaching experience when I was instructing an algebra I class on the principle of distribution, I came into contact with a student who had an entirely different framework when it came to variables. No matter how I tried, I couldn't impart my understanding to the student. Given a problem involving a variable with a coefficient other than one, the student would simply drop the variable and add the coefficient to any surrounding constants. This was incredibly confusing to me because the student wouldn't make this mistake all the time. I couldn't figure it out. I worked with this student for three days in the morning before school started. We slugged at a snails pace through the principles of combining like terms. It took all three days for the student to be able to understand what exactly a coefficient, a variable, and a constant are. patience was more important than my pedagogy. It didn't matter how I taught; it mattered that I was there to answer questions and encourage the student to figure out the problem.

    One of the most discouraging things to me about becoming a teacher is the realization that students view teachers as totalitarians. I believe this is due to a lack of respect on the average teachers part. Teachers tend to expect absolute respect from students, yet return little of that. Introducing respect into a classroom can be completely transforming. I remember the difference between my pre-calculus and my calculus classes in high school. Even though the instructor and the classroom were the same, the level of respect was different. Suddenly, the teacher respected me for taking this extra course that was not required to graduate. I believe that this sort of respect can become clear to the student when the teacher learns personal information about students such as their names, hobbies, family life, and friends. I believe having a classroom where you put responsibilities on the students can also instill the feeling of respect.

    Passion for content has become something I have seen less of since I started teaching at the high school level. I have encountered bitter educators who only teach their topic to pay bills. It's no wonder that students have a difficult time learning math when the person teaching them math doesn't even believe that it's exciting. Passion is infectious. Any educator who is in love with their content can actively engage students with ease. I first experienced this when I took calculus in high school. My instructor was a pedagogically bankrupt instructor who didn't believe in alternative teaching styles. Somehow, in spite of all of that, I was enthralled by his lectures because he was excited. I hope that my students feel the same way.

    As a teacher, I will strive to acquire these qualities and to create a classroom environment that’s conducive to learning. My utmost goal in the classroom will be the individual student’s self-betterment. I strive to instill a sense of excitement when it comes to both mathematics and learning. I personally believe that learning is one of the ultimate pursuits in life. As such, I could never do without it. I hope that students will be able to see its influence in my own life. I have taught with a predominantly growth mindset and a constructivist method, mixing in elements of behaviorism, such as positive reinforcement and repetition. I plan to continually use this mix of educational theories, theories that I believe best reach the widest range of students, throughout my educational career.