Education 101: Imparting My Teaching Philosophies
Teaching, being the highest and noblest form of art, takes special skills and exceptional love – the one that is higher than any mountains and deeper than an abyss. Sometimes, you may not have the skills yet, but your magnanimous heart can bring you there.
Many people view teaching as a vocation more than being a job. This vocation requires being an architect, an artist, a singer, a dancer, a sculptor, a painter, a poet, a writer, a dancer, all in one. With legions of roles a teacher plays, every day is a continuous challenge to transform students’ lives. Every day is a task of shaping a masterpiece – the youth of our Motherland - the future of the world.
Yes, teacher’s responsibilities don’t end in doing a lesson plan, preparing materials, executing them in class, and marking papers. They extend to honing students the skills and values that will succor them in their lives and be their best version – sustainable innovators. Hence, most of the time, teachers are appraised as their students’ second parents, best friends, and superheroes.
Teachers have the power to create a lasting impression in the minds and souls of students.
With the great responsibility endowed to us, it is vital to be reminded of some teaching philosophies that could serve as our life’s maxims.
Here are my three:
Teaching Philosophy 1
We, teachers, can be slammed with myriad of responsibilities inside and outside our classroom. We can be fixated on brainstorming creative learning materials and producing engaging activities for our students. This, I think, is very noble. It is very generous of us to spend countless hours doing this. But we should never forget that the biggest and most beautiful teaching material we can bring inside the classroom is ourselves – the loving and happy teachers that we are.
If we were always reminded of the wise advice to look at students with a clean slate, we must also do this to ourselves. A tabula rasa can help us enter our classroom every day with a fresh beginning. We may be upset with ourselves or at our students yesterday. But that was yesterday. Today is a new day. Start fresh.
I believe that the most effective teaching strategy is the language of love. Loving means being with our students 100% during our class hours, spending quality time with them. When we are inside the classroom, our minds and hearts should earnestly address the lesson concerns. We should not be doing other things aside from attending to their needs.
During our class time, we should NOT:
do paper works assigned by our superiors,
accomplish our homework from our M.A. or Ph.D. classes,
write our research papers,
text or explore our social media site, or
prepare our materials for our next class.
This may sound ideal, but if we want to guide our students properly, this should be our reality. The saying, “we can only serve one master at a time” may sound as overused and cliché, but this is the only key to an honest and healthier relationship with our students. We have to be the best example of “being in the present moment” by being with them 100% during our class hours.
Loving is to be prepared and flexible.
Prepared with the lessons.
Prepared with the activities.
Prepared with the teaching materials.
Prepared that there are students who will go the extra mile.
Prepared that some students will be hyperactive with our activities.
Prepared that some students will love us and will always be thrilled with our lessons and activities.
BUT BE PREPARED TOO that there are things that will not go our way.
Be prepared to witness students who lack enthusiasm.
Be prepared that there will be students who will not like us.
Be prepared that some students will not understand our objectives.
Be prepared that some students will not be as excited as we are.
Be prepared that some students will not be able to deliver our expectations.
In short, you have to take the good with the bad.
Be prepared that you can not always be prepared.
The truth is our plans may sound so beautiful and effective, but if we forget to prepare ourselves for all the possibilities, we fail. We should always remember that what applies to one student, may not be as appealing to another student; what's engaging for one class, may appear dull to another. If we accept this reality, there will be fewer heartaches and less stress that we will experience as teachers.
If we are prepared with all of these, we can somehow be flexible.
Flexibility means knowing and understanding our students more with their strengths and shortcomings rather than being too idealistic of our plans and expectations.
Flexibility is accepting that our students have different personalities and backgrounds.
Flexibility is treating our students as humans who have feelings, emotions, and temperaments.
The flexibility that sometimes we are not as productive as yesterday.
There are good and bad days. It may be hard to be always happy, but it is attainable to have a positive outlook in life.
Choose to start our day by counting our billions of blessings.
Choose to enter our classroom with a smile.
Choose to sincerely and gleefully greet our students.
Choose to be grateful because our students are there with us.
Choose to laugh with them.
Choose to be hopeful.
Be hopeful that even though our students may not understand us now, there will be a perfect time that our words will soon sink in and make sense to them.
Be hopeful that our bosses and students will soon notice our hard work and sincerity.
Hope generates contagious happiness. When we are happy, our students can feel it, and they can radiate happiness as well.
We must always remember that no matter how beautiful our plans, innovative our strategies, and interactive our activities, if we deliver them with a heavy heart, everything else will flounder. To be happy may sound as easy as ABC, but this can easily slip out of our hands if we have too many obligations on our plate. Hence, it is important to love ourselves by pausing or resting when we need to. No excuses.
All these may sound ideal, but they are certainly achievable.
This is the philosophy I live by, which I always remind myself – every minute of every day.
Teaching Philosophy 2
Our workloads can be tedious and endless. Aside from that, we are often misinterpreted; some parents and students treat us like their enemies. On top of all, our remuneration is too modest. These are just three of the myriad challenges we face every day as teachers.
What many people do not understand is the struggle we go through. Teaching is an every day challenge to make a difference in numerous students' lives while juggling our personal struggles. Ergo, it is vital to be poised and sage at all times. This can be achieved if we make it a habit to reflect, be grateful, and be hopeful.
Meaningful reflection happens when we take a few minutes to pause and think things through - contemplating about our lives in school - our relationship with our students, colleagues, and superiors.
When we get offended by our students or colleagues, we should not take things personally. Let's hope that they don’t mean it in the same manner that we also say or do something that hurt other people; although, that wasn’t our intention. We should learn to forgive them and ourselves, too.
Like mothers who always care for their children but sometimes get misunderstood by them, we don’t need to be perfect. Our students may not understand us yet, but we should not get tired of loving them. Soon, all our hard work will pay off.
We should always hold on to the fact that everything happens for a reason - no matter how tough, excruciating, and disappointing our day is. Yes, our plans may not go as we want them to be. Have patience and trust the process. As the saying goes, the flower blooms at the right time.
Consequently, we must refrain from comparing ourselves to others. We should not think that our colleague is better than us or we are better than them. Teaching just like love is never about competition.
Take time to reflect so we’ll always be reminded of our special traits.
Reflect and answer the questions:
Who among my students smiled, looked anxious, or disturbed?
Did I even get to make a real, sincere conversation with my students?
Why do I want to teach?
What do I love about my work?
What made me happy today?
These are simple questions that we often disregard.
Therefore after reflecting, rest with a happy and fulfilled heart.
Then, start the next day with a grateful and hopeful heart. Count your blessings – start by being thankful because of your health, family, friends, food, and shelter.
Face the day with so much hope as it is a new day.
The most important values I keep to my heart are reflection, gratitude, and hope.
Besides my family, my students (who are my extended family) are my reasons for waking up in the morning. I thank the Lord for entrusting them to me. Indeed, I am eternally grateful!
Teaching Philosophy 3
Love must always come from within. It is harder to receive love from other people if we can’t even spare love for ourselves. Therefore, as teachers, it is necessary to religiously love ourselves by learning something new every day, being excited about life, and giving ourselves room for improvement.
1. Every day, we should make sure that we learn something new and share it with others. There must be input and output in enriching our self-project. As we teach, we should also never stop learning and vice versa.
I make it a habit to read a scholarly article each day. If I get busy with the demands of work, at least I read an article a week. In line with this, I also keep a journal. For three years now, as a form of my morning prayer routine, I write a journal entry. This year, I take my self-project to the next level by coming up with this website and my advocacy. I wish to help and inspire more teachers and students in my little way.
2. We should always be the first person excited for our class. We should be cognizant that if laughter is contagious, boredom is infectious as well. Do some experiments. Explore some activities now and then. Therefore, we should always be engaging and fun to be with. In doing games, trivia, and activities, we should place ourselves in our students' shoes. By doing this, we don’t just get to motivate our students, but we keep ourselves relevant.
In my humble way, I regularly update and refine my lessons. For example, during this pandemic, I mastered the ins and outs of Canvas, Google Meet, and Zoom. I also don’t hesitate to tell my students how excited I am for our class and to read their works. To make them feel my sincerity, I include comments in their works.
Concertedly, I read research papers and produce one every year. This is to investigate and explore ways to understand my students and myself as a teacher. To enhance my craft, I present these research papers in international conferences and collaborate with other research writers or colleagues, too.
I consider doing all these activities as a great learning curve for me.
3. Being a teacher is a lifelong journey. Every day, we will discover new things, and we will realize that there is no one-size-fits-all teaching methodology. It is always eclectic; thus, we have to leave some room for improvement. One student will praise you; another may scorn you. Don't let this frustrate you; instead, let this be an encouragement.
I read my students' evaluations, and they're always humbling. Everything that’s happening around me I use it as ingredients to become a better person. After all, that’s the reason why my parents named me EdWINa. They believe that I was born a WINner!
Winners keep themselves relevant.
Winners know that their best investment is their self-development.
Winners never stop learning and sharing.
These are the teaching philosophies that guide me to be always grounded and happy.