In my last post (Part Four), I shared my most recent Teaching philosophy and my concerns about the length and potentially repetitious content… I’m weighing the pros and cons of what adding more to mine might be and would love your feedback. First, this addition would bring the whole thing to be longer than three pages.
My university mentor shared their philosophy with the class, in a very novel way (Hint: video recording), but that’s a story for another post… What’s important is that he formed it as a narrative… a very personal story that showed their love of teaching and their students-centred approach.
My story would go something like this…
A few years ago I was fortunate to be doing an internship at Dorval Elementary which very quickly opened up into a regular substitute job. Teachers in all the grades called on me to not babysit their classes, but to actually teach the lessons they had scheduled on the days they were missing. It was an amazing experience for me. The more time I spent at the school, the more I got to interact with the teachers and students, and to grow as a teacher in a community.
During lunchtime, I sat with the teachers and listened to them share the successes and challenges of their students, all sounding like proud and concerned parents, all embodying the idea of “it takes a village to raise a child.” They felt like a family to me and moreover, they always made it feel like their students were wonderful! By wonderful I mean more than they were great kids; the teachers expressed such joy that their students were so full of wonder. I realized then and there, that was the kind of teacher I’ve really always wanted to be.
As I spent more time at the school, I felt welcomed as a colleague; especially by the early grades teachers with whom I spent most lunches. They bounced ideas off of me and I asked questions of my new family of mentors. The one teacher I had never replaced was the one who surprised me the most; she announced to the principal that she was retiring before the end of the year and she demanded that I take over her class of amazing first graders. When I asked her why me, she said that it was clear I would know exactly how wonderful her students were and they already felt that love from me in the fact that I stopped to listen to every one of them during recesses when I supervised and when I worked with them in my art classes. The next few months with this class became the best teaching experience of my life. It formed the lens through which I see & practice my teaching: to be forever grateful for the privilege to teach wonderful people and play any part in fuelling their vastly diverse curiosities.