Philosophy of Education
When posed with the question regarding how I have come to understand what it means to educate, I often think back to the great teachers that have influenced me in some profound ways. While every teacher gives his or her time to pass along knowledge, these teachers made the difference in my life by being passionate about their subject and encouraging me to grow as a person. Mr. Brist, my American Government teacher, was the primary reason that I selected to focus in politics. The students all respected Mr. Brist, because he saw them more as being intellectuals who were able to think on their own. He would engage students in dialogue and require them to think critically about the lessons that were presented in class.
With Mr. Brist as my Inspiration, I believe strongly that students are very capable of formulating their own knowledge and outlook to life. The role of the teacher is to assist to those individuals overcome obstacles that may inhibit them from continuing on. A teacher should not look to mold young minds but to provide the clay for students so they can shape their own, the clay being experiences and knowledge. Students do not need to be formed into the society that they belong to because they will be required to uphold that notion of society. As an educator, I hold it to be true that the responsibility of the school, as being a functioning body of society, is to guide students to become citizens whose role is to think critically about the world around them. It is crucial for students who live in a democratic society to analyze their government. Democracy resides in the ability of its citizens to uphold the institutions of the society.
I value my students as being individuals who make personal contributions to class. It is my wish that my students will start to see themselves as individuals and will want to add their own input into the class. I believe the social studies curriculum is essential because the nature of social studies is not based on truths but on solutions that are made by people who try to interpret the actions of society and its members. When you value your students as individuals, you realize that each one of them has something to offer, and when students feel they have something to offer they will want to participate more and engage in classroom activities. Students who participate more in class begin to think more for themselves and will want to further their knowledge on topics that are brought up in class. I believe the field of social studies utilizes tools that allow students to gain new perspectives of the world and might change the way they choose to think about it. As a teacher of social studies, I will want my students to be able to make decisions of issues they feel strongly about by looking at the arguments presented by both sides. As Mr. Brist would say, “Depends are for old people, not for discussions.” There is a sense that when those words are spoken they are used more as an escape not an explanation.
I wish for my class to be an inspiration for creative thinking that is both analytical and critical. I want my students to gain from my class a sense of self-satisfaction. I believe my students should feel that they have made a vital contribution to the class and will want to again. The best course to gain this reaction, I trust, is to ask questions of my students. Getting students to think of the answers on their own with little guidance is ideal in my classroom, because my students are not empty slates but are human beings each with their own disposition that allows for them to learn from one another and not just from their teacher.