Friday, December 30, 2011

Stroll Down Memory Lane

Yesterday I closed down our house.  The weather was nice and my kids needed to get out of the house.  Whether they liked it our not, they were going to be outside.  While spending some time at our local park, I ran into two former parents.  Their kids are now in 9th and 10th grade.  Man, time flies.  I can still picture them as little fourth graders.  They were so precious.  It was good to hear of how the kids were doing today.  Good stroll down memory lane.

Once I decided the kids had exerted themselves enough with outdoor activities, I graciously allowed them to come in the house for naps.  It was great time to check up on my emails from the day.  I received one from Little Man's teacher.  She was nominated for Teacher of the Year this year.  Honestly, it should have happened a long time ago.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but she's pretty much awesome.  

As I was reading through some artifacts to her portfolio, I pulled up the same artifacts from mine.  Somehow, in my fourth year of teaching, I fooled my co-workers enough that they nominated me.  What a bunch of suckers!  Anyway, I came across one document that was supposed to wrap up my philosophy of education.  Reading through the artifact made me remember all the good times with great kids.  

Get ready for some reading, because I'm getting ready to share with you.  Also get ready for weird spacing because after I copy/pasted there was something funky going on.  I don't really care enough to change it.  Sorry 'bout it...

Candidate No.  11

 State Your Philosophy of Teaching

q       Describe your personal feelings and beliefs about teaching, including your own ideas of what makes you an outstanding teacher.
q       Describe the rewards you find in teaching.
q       How are your beliefs about teaching demonstrated in your personal teaching style?

“I am the decisive element in the classroom. 
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
 It is my daily mood that makes the weather.  
As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make
a child’s life miserable or joyous.”

                                                              - Hiam Ginot

The clock reads 1:45pm…time for Social Studies.  There’s a knock at the door.  All students remain seated 
as I answer the door, slip outside, and re-enter as Mrs. Continent.  Mrs. Continent takes time to teach a few 
lessons in Social Studies.  Her specialty is in the area of landforms and map skills.  The kids sit in awe as 
Mrs. Continent shares her biography.  Born and raised in London, she has a noticeably strong English 
accent.  She begins her lesson on lines of longitude and latitude, sharing with the students how the Prime 
Meridian, intersecting with her hometown, inspired her to become a professor of landforms and map skills.  
Mrs. Continent goes on teaching; students answer questions while learning all about exact locations.  She 
glances at the clock…2:15pm… time to catch her flight back to London.

Through the seemingly revolving door, I re-enter.  Funny, the kids say I look so similar to Mrs. Continent, but no time to talk about the striking resemblance.  It’s time for Math.  Division has been our quest for the past two weeks.  It’s the first time since we’ve started that everyone has scored satisfactory on their paper!!!!!!  Breaking into a chorus of Alleluia, I suddenly faint from excitement.  The kids wonder where I have gone.  The front two groups notice I’m on the floor.  The giggles begin and the students start to feel the mounting pride from accomplishing a new skill. 

The clock now reads 3:20; time to wrap up the day.  A discussion of high and low moments from the day brings me overwhelming joy.  I listen as my kids share their greatest accomplishments and struggles from the week.   I make mental notes of what I will do to change each child’s struggle into a success.  As the students gather their belongings and file out with hugs and good-byes, Michelle hands me a paper.  It’s a very neatly written field number, game time, and a little message. “Can you please come to my game?  Circle yes or no.”  I circle and hand the paper back to her.   My week is not over.  I’ll be at that soccer game to support her as she excels in an area outside of the academic realm.

How do these snapshots demonstrate my philosophy of teaching?  It is the devotion to each student in and out of the classroom.  The stitching on my heart motivates me to create a fascinating and engaging learning environment, as well as, developing a unique and special bond with each individual.  Giving my time, love, and support to each child beyond my classroom allows me to reap the benefits inside the classroom.  The devotion to my students ensures they will become actively involved with our learning.  I often have teachers who ask,” Where do you find the time or energy to do the ‘extras’?”  My reply is simple.  “I find the time and create the energy because my students depend on my tremendous power!”

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