The last four months that I spent as a student teacher has greatly changed my educational philosophy from how I initially viewed the teaching profession. I dare say that my views and experiences have strengthened me as an individual and transformed the way I initially viewed a teacher’s job description and responsibilities, in terms of planning and organizing their classes. All experiences that I acquired as an Art education student at Colorado State University have been put to good use as I was able to develop teaching methods and strategies that engaged the skills and attention of students to the maximum level. I consider creating a safe and welcoming classroom environment, positive rapport with students, individualization of instruction, knowledge and application of the new state standards, and practicing multiple modes of instructions as my areas of success in this whole student teaching experience.
The way I manage the classroom developed even further after observing my cooperating teacher’s classroom methods. While it took a while for me to adjust to the teacher’s style, in time, I began to understand the techniques and felt comfortable with the set up. Initially, I strived to build rapport with my students to make them feel comfortable with me. Soon enough, I found myself concentrating on ensuring my instructions and expectations are clear and easily understood which led me to focus my instructions on an individual level, especially on those who are having difficulty in school. In the future, what I envision myself doing is focusing on my classroom management style as a student teacher in the future.
As a student teacher, I realized that an individualized approach is an effective method when connecting with students. Inattentive students became more responsive and active in class after I began having individual private conversations with each student. When preparing for my lesson plans, I took note of our conversations and designed the lessons around the needs of each student, regardless of their intellectual level in class. Because of my efforts in individualizing the lessons to accommodate student needs, they end up helping and supporting each other, thus fostering a caring and welcoming environment. On my end, I am able to realize and learn each individual student’s learning needs and styles. In addition, students felt a strong sense of camaraderie and connection with one another and with me, in general.
During the course of my student teaching experience, my exposure in handling a real classroom set up has prepared me for responsibilities that I did not consider as part of a teacher’s job description. I have learned so much in terms of classroom management, planning, organizing, and execution of lesson plans. The fast-paced and dynamic nature of the job and the classroom environment excites me especially when I think of myself not only as the students’ teacher, but their counselor, mentor, and facilitator, too. I am driven by the fact that I will also grow as an individual, as an educator, as a professional, and as an instructor.
One thing I learned is that guidelines and expectations must be clear from Day 1 if I want students to follow me. Consistency in implementing expectations makes them understand that I take my job seriously and passionately. Thus, I follow through with disciplinary measures when necessary. With my experiences dealing with students, I was able to establish what classroom behaviors are acceptable and have determined various ways of disciplining students depending on their actions. What made this experience even more enjoyable and productive was that I ensured I involved the students in terms of “managing” the class. On a weekly basis, I appoint someone who will act as the class leader – assisting me in passing out test or quiz papers, ensuring students are attentive in class, checking if everyone copied the homework instructions correctly, and more. Because they were given minor responsibilities, classroom leaders’ self-confidence increased, thus, positive behavioral changes became noticeable as they took pride in knowing they were able to help manage the class for that week. As a result, other students also eagerly wait for their turn as the classroom leader.
After spending four months as a student teacher, I realized that I have become more organized after spending enough time planning for my class, while still able to maintain a certain degree of flexibility and adaptability for any untoward incidences in the classroom. Apart from ensuring lessons are carefully planned, making certain that the classroom set up is properly maintained and organized equates to the class functioning smoothly, without having to constantly remind students to store their things in their proper locations. Thus, they
have become disciplined and responsible individuals as they learned to be accountable for their actions.
As a student and teacher, I have seen what encouragement and motivation do to an individual’s self-esteem. Therefore, I plan to inspire and stimulate students’ interest in learning to help them better understand their lessons and assignments. Apart from helping them in their education, I want to become an instrument in helping them develop their social skills and personality.
Despite the experiences I have in teaching, I believe there are still so much more that I can improve on. I am a work in progress and am very open to other teaching methods and techniques that would aid in improving me personally and professionally. I understand and appreciate the fact that education is the key to successful living. Therefore, if I truly want my students to succeed in life, I, myself, should be educated in teaching styles, technologies used to advance education, and in various aspects of life as well. I would like to learn methods that others in the same profession are doing to keep their own students engaged. Thus, my receptiveness to change and improvement is what will make me successful in my teaching career.
My educational philosophy borders on the belief that everyone has innate desire to learn, but what makes one student different from another is the commitment to learn and succeed. As a teacher, it is therefore my responsibility to motivate my learners to try and stimulate their appetite for learning. This is the role I want to play in the lives of my students – someone who teaches them the basics in education and at the same time, someone who mentors and coaches them about the necessary life skills and knowledge they ought to learn in life to succeed.
Teaching is a noble profession and the receivers, the students, are the most important part of the equation. Teaching should not be taken lightly especially since it comes with responsibilities and challenges for both students and teachers. The teacher acts like the oar of the boat, which will ensure that everything inside the boat is safe and pushed towards the right direction. While it may appear like a tedious and frustrating job sometimes, overall, it is full of excitement, thrilling experiences, and opportunities. All students are capable of learning, especially when they are properly motivated and guided by their teachers. As a teacher, it is my responsibility that I equip myself with the necessary skills and knowledge so I can help all of my students reaches his or her maximum potential. I need to be aware of various motivational and behavioral methods and theories that I can apply to my students. I love to learn and teaching is my passion. It is a great feeling of accomplishment to see that my students have actually learned something from me. Teaching allows me to prove my abilities and gives me the opportunity to touch and make a difference in the lives of my students.