My Philosophy of Education Sketch My love for teaching developed at a very young age. When I was eleven years old, instead of going to my Sunday school class at church, I opted to assist my mom with the younger children. My mom has been teaching for over 25 years and her passion truly inspired me. Once I was a senior in high school, I became a pre-K Sunday school teacher. This opportunity solidified to me that teaching is my calling. Therefore, I pursued a degree in early and elementary education when I entered college in the fall of 2013. Now, I am in my second semester of the graduate program for teaching early and elementary education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Through the years of my education and working with children, I have established my teaching philosophy. I believe the role of a teacher is to not just teach content, but to build a relationship with each of my students. By getting to know my students, I can develop lessons that they will relate to them. I want to make my lessons relatable and relevant to them as much as possible for them to not only enjoy learning but to also remember the content. Additionally, having a good relationship with my students will enable them to feel comfortable to share personal topics with me such as what is happening at home that may be impacting their learning and/or their well-being. I believe that the role of a teacher is to not only build a relationship with my students but with their parents, as well. Getting to know parents will help me get to know their child and their overall family background—two important pieces that can help me most effectively teach their child. I want my parents to know that most of all, I am here for their child and want what is best for their child. I believe that part of getting to know my students and their families is learning and celebrating their diversity. I will encourage parents to share some of their religious and/or cultural traditions to the students at some point during the school year. My goal is for my students to be culturally aware and respectful of all their peers’ backgrounds and beliefs. Being open and celebratory to learning about each other’s family and background will build the strong sense of community that I desire to accomplish in my classroom. I believe children learn best through experiences. That is why my lessons will be extremely interactive and engaging with heavy use of experiments and long term group projects. My lessons will include a lot of social contact and collaboration—two things that will be essential as they develop into adults. The purpose of my lessons will be to teach the content, but also to prepare my students for the workforce. I will also keep in mind that students need multiples means of representation— elements for all types of learners such as visual, tactile, and auditory. I will have my lesson plans differentiated for the students who struggle and the students that are advanced before teaching. This will ensure that I maintain developmentally appropriate expectations of all my students. I believe that in order for students to learn, they need motivation. To gain motivation in my classroom, I will model excitement. If I seem lackadaisical of the content, they will notice and will not be excited about learning it either. However, if I’m upbeat and passionate about the content, they will be more likely to listen and learn. Additionally, through peer interaction and allowing students to create finished projects, students will develop goals in the classroom which builds motivation. I will also provide students with choice. By having ample opportunity of choice, student motivation will heighten since they got to choose rather than being told what to do. I will keep these motivational factors in mind as I plan each lesson. I believe there is a time and place for direct instruction. However, it shouldn’t be the entire lesson. Students can easily become disengaged if I just ramble in the front of the classroom. For direct instruction, I will keep it short and to the point. To keep students engaged, I will use visual supports such as technology and group discussions as part of the whole class instruction. I strongly believe in cooperative learning. As I said before, student motivation can improve through peer interaction and it is a necessary skill they will need in the workforce. Differentiated learning through stations is also a pivotal teaching strategy because everyone has a different mind, and hence, learns differently. I will create stations that incorporate every one of my students’ learning needs. I believe that it is so important to create a safe and welcoming learning environment in order for my students to reach their full potential. I will do this by having a morning meeting. We will gather together each morning in a circle and share our thoughts and ideas. It will be a place where everyone feels safe and validated. Once the students that want to talk have spoken, I will introduce what we will be learning and discussing for that day. Morning meeting will set a fresh tone for each day. My teaching philosophy has been shaped by my teaching experiences and will continue to grow and evolve as I pursue teaching. I understand the importance of being prepared every day with interesting, engaging lesson plans that consider all learners. I understand how important it is for me to get to know my students and their parents for me to be the best teacher I can be. Although challenges may rise, I will learn to improve and reflect on those experiences of how I can improve as a teacher. I will be reflective of my strengths and weaknesses and continue to be open to try new things in my classroom.