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Teaching Philosophy

December 6, 2013

Hi All: I have been working on my portfolio for my upcoming job search, and I would love to get your feedback on what you think of my philosophy statement.  I will be applying for jobs teaching middle school history. Please let me know what you think and how I can improve it.  Many thanks!  DQ

My goal as a teacher is to teach one hundred percent of my students one hundred percent of the curriculum.  Surprisingly, when I tell other teachers about this mission, I often hear pushback because they believe it to be impossible to achieve.  Undaunted, I have refused to alter my mission.  My commitment to each student originates from my own childhood experiences, somewhat consumed by the notion of failure.

By seventh grade, I had spent years struggling in school.  Not only was I dyslexic, but I also grappled with my ADHD, which made academic success nearly impossible, in spite of my most earnest efforts.  As the demands of middle school increased so too did failing grades and negative comments on my progress reports.  One day, after getting yet another question wrong in math class, I made the conscious decision to give up.  I reached into my backpack, pulled out February’s copy of A+ Magazine, not realizing the irony, and waited for Mr. Hendricks to tell me to put it away.  To my surprise and relief, he did not reprimand me, but instead let me spend the rest of the year in the safe confines of my reclusive shell.  This missed opportunity laid the foundation for what I now consider the heart of my mission as an educator.  His inaction, as I reflect today, reminds me daily of the quintessence of my responsibility.  To take any action necessary to ensure the success of every student in my classroom, I truly refuse to let any child fail.

Engaging students from the moment they walk into my classroom is an essential component in helping each student realize her/his potential.  Whether students are learning about the culture of ancient Egypt or working to improve their reading, writing, and public speaking skills, students progress at a quicker rate when they are personally invested in their learning.  Aware that middle school students are innately egocentric, I always strive to reveal the relevance of the past to the present, helping them to gain a deeper understanding of the material and how it relates to them.  When creating lesson plans, I integrate topics that I know are of interest to individual students and differentiate my instruction to match their cognitive profiles. If you walk into my classroom, you will immediately notice students working collaboratively on group projects to construct knowledge and improve their interpersonal skills, acting out a scene from the past to solidify their understanding, meeting with me one-on-one to improve their writing skills, or using iPads to create video presentations.  My students take great pride in their accomplishments, and enjoy the multimodal engagement, as they gradually become lifelong learners.

The middle school years, with their changes and challenges, are the most crucial in a young person’s development, and all students yearn to feel connected, safe, and successful.  It is essential, therefore, to work in partnership with others to ensure the success of every child.  Not only must teachers work in tandem to plan integrated lessons, but we also need to share strategies to help students find success in all curricular areas.  Parents must remain informed about progress and provide feedback in order to better support educators’ work in the classroom.  Taking action as a team ensures that one hundred percent of the students learn one hundred percent of the material.


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