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.