“Teach students only the information you want them to have, and they’ll pass the test tomorrow; teach students how to learn, and they’ll pass the test for the rest of their lives” – Thomas H. Estes
The above quote captures both my experiences as a learner and my newly transformed philosophy of what it means to be an educator. Based on my schooling experience, far too many teachers see themselves as information carriers to relay information onto recipients. If I truly want my students to learn from me, I must acknowledge that students are more than recipients of information; they are unique learners with individual needs. One of the most exciting privileges I have as a teacher is getting to know my students and forming relationships with them. If I get to know my students on a personal level, I have the opportunity to teach them so much more than the content in the curriculum. I believe this personal connection with students is the foundational piece necessary for all student learning.
In terms of education, I hold a very important position in helping my students develop the skills they need to be successful in life. If the purpose of education is to foster learning and development of knowledge and skills, then I must ensure this happens in my classroom. In my experience as a student, I simply memorized information that was impersonally lectured to me or had no relevance to my life. Realizing these two points has emphasized the important practices necessary to be an effective teacher. An effective teacher not only teaches students content, they also equip them with the tools they need to learn on their own. An effective teacher also draws connections between content and the students’ lives to better enable them to transfer the skills learned. The teachers I learned the most from took time to develop relationships and led by example.
I believe the Saskatchewan curriculum was chosen with great care and purpose for educating young people in a variety of areas. Specifically, I have spent much time examining the goals of science and physical education. I believe science is important for students to learn because it allows them to explore the world they live in and come to understand it better. All students have a natural curiosity for understanding things that happen in our world, however, by the time they enter high school they may have turned that curiosity switch off for a multitude of reasons. My goal as a high school science teacher is to turn that switch back on for each student and cause them to want to explore phenomenon in our world. I believe that the physical education domain of schools deserves as much attention as any other domain. It is essential that young people are being physically educated in order to obtain and sustain a lifelong physically-active lifestyle. My physical education class will be a place where students can achieve success, appreciate teamwork, and learn to set and achieve personal goals.
My beliefs about teaching will shape my practices and methods in the classroom in many ways. Based on my philosophy, I envision practicing methods that are student-centered, inquiry-based, collaborative, and utilize technology. My beliefs about teaching have changed drastically in the past two years as I have learned more about education and educating students. I anticipate that my philosophy will continue to evolve during my journey as a teacher.