Philosophy of Education Paper

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Rachael BrownEDUC F200Dr. Janice GrskovicPhilosophy of Education Paper

I want to change the world. I want to give all children a chance to be successful. I want to be an advocate for social change in my community. There are many answers you may hear when you ask a teacher, So, what made you choose education?, and all the preceding statements are invigorating reasons. However, talk to any teacher on a philosophical level and you will understand that their desires to change the world and do something about the problems they see in their community are not only well thought out but researched, implemented and referred to daily. This system of thought is known as a Philosophy of Education. Houston Community College published a great and easy to read article in 2006 that I have printed out for my classroom breaking down the traditional and contemporary philosophies of education that I consider when trying to decide the best option for my children. It is also a great resource to refer my parents to when they have questions about why I choose specific activities and classroom rules for my kids. I especially find this article helpful because I operate based off a blend of traditional and contemporary philosophies, mixed with my own research and reinforced by the outcomes in my classroom. In a nutshell, my philosophy of education is Every child can and will learn; every teacher must believe so and act accordingly. (Houston Community College, 2006.) In my opinion, the most important component of a great and successful teacher, at the end of the day, is one who truly believes in the children filling the seats of their classroom. A great teacher asks How can I help this child reach the goals we have set together? instead of How will this child ever reach the goals I have set for him/her? Success in the classroom stems from a total rethinking of the whys behind the whats of activities, procedures, assignments and rules in the classroom. In this way, I am progressive in my philosophy. I am creative and I believe the most important thing is that we reach our goals, and what we learn along the way, not how we reach them and how much faster or better our work was than our peers.This belief stems from my fundamental belief about society and the world. Collaboration, not competition. The kids in my classroom, when encouraged to collaborate and solve real world problems in creative ways, are being prepared to enter a changing world that I cannot fully predict. Our world today already looks completely different than it did fifteen years ago, when I was entering grade school, and this reality is not likely to change or slow down. My job as a modern teacher, then, is to prepare my children to solve problems I will never face. I become less concerned with knowing dates and regurgitating information and more preoccupied with teaching social skills, what my kids can do with limited resources, how I can help them to see the bigger picture, and instilling empathy in their oh so impressionable hearts and minds.For this reason, most of all, I am excited by the growing diversity in the average elementary classroom today. I absolutely love the statement in Tolerance.orgs article Culture in the Classroom which states The truth is: culture matters.(Hawley et all, 2016). So often today, we as educators try to brush differences aside in an effort to not call attention to them, but when we choose this method we are doing just as much harm as if we were to speak badly about them. Culture matters because culture is how the child and their family understands the world and interacts with it. If we ignore culture and act like it doesnt affect who the child or adult is, we miss out on so much of what makes that person who they are! The object then becomes not ignorance, but education. Our job is to learn as much as we can as often as we can about the aspects of others lives we dont experience ourselves. Our classrooms transform into a place where all students are invited to share who they are and learn about who their friends are. We learn about our students with disabilities, not disabled students because a wheelchair or a chemical difference does not define who a person is. Learning about everything that you can, as an educator, not only sets a great example and the tone for your classroom, but takes a good teacher and makes him or her great. Consider a child who enters your classroom, the son of a strict religious family who adheres to traditionally masculine and feminine values and roles in the home, and only enters public education as a last resort on the part of his overworked parents. He enters your classroom and sees boys helping to wash the dishes after making the food from our cultural experience meal. He sees two mothers pick up their daughter from school for a dentist appointment, and he adamantly insists that it is not okay. Do you reprimand him? After all, he was not trying to be inconsiderate: he is trying to do the right thing! Do you break his spirit and attempt to indoctrinate him with your point of view? How do you reconcile respect for the beliefs of a family with the positive classroom climate you wish to have?Social agents outside of your control will have a big impact on inner workings of your classroom, and learning more about what causes certain behaviors instead of treating all behavior and all children the same will save you heartache and increase the positive outcomes of your classroom. This is a situation where you get to be the one getting creative and solving a problem that you didnt causeyou get to practice what you teach. Legally, this can become sticky! You seemingly have two or more points of view that are unable to be reconciled, but that must be for you to continue teaching and making the difference you have dreamed about making! Depending on the state and the type of school, teachers will have state guidelines, federal guidelines, school-specific guidelines, and many well-meaning parents with requirements for the education of their children. Becoming very familiar with the No Child Left Behind requirements is a great place to start when digging deeper into legal issues facing teachers today (SITE HERE). The more that you understand just what is required of you, and what is not, the more creative you can be in solving your issues peaceably. As a public educator, you cannot tell parents that they are raising their child wrong. You cannot insist that the parents change their philosophy of parenting. You can only control what happens in your classroom. As a public educator, you cannot allow students to bully other students based off their parents sexual orientation. You cannot ask same-sex parents to not come together to pick up their children so another child will not be exposed to their lifestyle. But what you CAN do is teach that difference is okay: not everyone believes what you do and you dont believe what everyone else does. Let the children know that they do not have to agree with someone elses choices, they just must be nice anyways. If they learn this concept as a child, imagine the next generation of tolerant and diverse adults!Teaching is so incredibly rewarding, but it is far from easy. Teaching tests your creativity, your patience, your resolve, and your compassion. You will face legal challenges that seem overwhelming with no positive result to be found. You will have children whose level of achievement or behavior will stretch you into shapes you didnt know you could be. Coming out of these difficult situations as a better teacher, with more resources and experiences, and a deeper appreciation for the differences that make this country truly great, though, is the most amazing feeling in the entire world. Having your kids run up to you every day and tell you how much they love you, or opening up to you about a tough situation they are facing at home and admitting you are the only one they can tell reminds you that you are making a difference. Seeing the pure joy on the face of a child who finally understands that they can in fact solve that math problem or remember which tense is past, assures you that you can beand you area great teacher. This is my philosophy of education, and with this I will change the world.

References Page Houston Community College. (2006). Educational philosophies definitions and chart. Accessed December 11, 2016. U.S. Department of Education. (2005). New no child left behind flexibility: Highly qualified teachers. Accessed December 11, 2016. Willis, H., Jordan, J., Landa, M., & Landa, I. (2016). Culture in the classroom. Accessed December 11, 2016.


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