Recently, Jeezy and I have been in a fog of applications to schools all over the continent. Is the job application process for other professions as time consuming? Every school seems to want something a little different. Between Jeezy and I, we could put together a novel of cover letters. Recently I have been working on my Teaching Philosophy. I find this particular document difficult. When I am speaking face to face with someone, I know my passions come through, but I worry that on paper they aren’t quite as evident.
This is my teaching philosophy that I have sent to a school that follows the IB curriculum. Any suggestions?
As an educator, I use an inquiry-based, constructivist approach to learning. I believe that children are naturally curious and it is our job to nurture and encourage their natural desire for information. I teach my students the skills they need to find the answers to their questions and direct them to go deeper in their personal inquiries. I have spent the last six years in International Baccalaureate schools and I strongly believe in the five essential elements of the IB curriculum.
I consistently seek out new research on best practice in the classroom and take part in meaningful discussions in a variety of professional learning communities to explore techniques that promote learning in my classroom. This allows me the opportunity to continually reflect and refine my practice.
I find that students learn best in a classroom where they feel safe, valued and respected. In my classroom, students are encouraged to wonder, ask questions and are given time to find the answers to their personal inquiries. I help my students to develop a growth mindset in which they feel comfortable making mistakes and try things again and in different ways. To meet the needs of all students I use a mix of collaborative and independent work, differentiation strategies and flexible groups. I use creative learning spaces as an opportunity for my students to choose a place where they feel comfortable working, learning and reflecting.
I believe that students should see themselves as readers and writers at the very earliest stages of their learning journeys. I use a balanced literacy approach; establishing a reader’s workshop that that uses a mix of guided reading, shared reading, interactive read alouds, independent reading, reading conferences, book clubs and reader’s notebook. I believe that a love for reading should be the ultimate goal of my teaching. My writer’s workshops include a short mini-lesson where we look to mentor texts for authentic examples of the teaching points, followed by a large block of writing time with student conferences, and always ending with time to share and celebrate their peers writing. I am an avid reader and writer myself, and feel it is important to model my reading and writing alongside my students by sharing my personal challenges, successes and excitement towards literacy.
In my classroom, mathematics is taught through inquiry where we focus on the concepts, this allows for natural differentiation because students can explore the concept at their own level. Students learn how to solve problems in creative ways and understand that there is more than one right way to find a solution. I give my students the opportunity to develop their inner mathematician and scientist while they are playing and discovering indoors and outdoors. I feel that it is important for students to be exploring and learning in nature whenever possible. When planning for all areas of curriculum, I first look for natural connections to the units of inquiry and then create stand alone planners to ensure students are developing in all areas of their learning.
I believe that social and emotional development goes hand in hand with academic development. I use mindfulness in my classroom as a tool to reduce stress, improve classroom management and help my students grow both socially and academically. I take time each day to practice mindfulness in a variety of forms so that my students leave with a toolbox of strategies to bring with them into the world. I have quiet spaces in the classroom where children can go to when they need time to reflect and regroup.
I find that a working partnership with my students’ parents is key to helping my students reach their full potential. I use email, daily communication books, weekly newsletters, class blogs, student portfolios and progress reports to ensure that parents are able to reflect with their child on their learning more effectively at home. I have an open door policy, where I encourage parents to volunteer in the classroom and come to share their expertise with the class.
I am committed to nurturing a community of learners who care about and support one another and their world. I strive to inspire and empower my students to be life long learners and have a positive impact in their local and global communities. I am authentic in all that I do, and while I may make mistakes, I will never stop learning, reflecting, and growing. I hope that my students see that in me and strive for it in themselves.