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MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

My Teaching Philosophy
Emily Gilles
Seton Hill University

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My Teaching Philosophy
Teaching is a complex career; filled with many trends, fads, and styles that claim
to be the most optimal way to get students to learn given content, ideas, and skills.
However, fads come and go with the trends of the decade, and styles vary depending on
the types of learners you have. The most basic, and successful, way to get children to
truly learn is by simply getting the students engaged in the material. Engagement is the
heart of my teaching philosophy, which means full emersion with the material, content,
between students, between the community, and beyond.
Engagement begins with a safe environment where the students feel that they are
able to make mistakes and most importantly learn from them. A safe environment
includes being safe from ridicule from their peers, being safe from physical threat or
injury, and being in an environment where creativity and passion is accepted and
encouraged. It is the teachers job to facilitate this kind of environment, and correct errors
while showing the students what they are doing correctly and showing them the progress
that theyre making. Without a safe and comfortable learning environment, the classroom
will never run optimally. Rapport with the students is the easiest way to facilitate a safe
classroom environment, and simply showing each and every student the respect and
genuine acceptance that they all deserve.
Once the safe environment is established, engagement must start with the teacher.
Different students will require many styles of teaching, such as lecture and notes,
auditory lessons, visual lessons, hands on activities, and peer discussion activities in
order to best fit the students and clearly get the information presented in a way that they
will understand and be able to engage with. Each lesson should have the students fully

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engaged, whether its with note-taking, interacting with the given material, interacting
with their peers, or interacting between student and teacher. The teacher must also be
knowledgeable of the content, being able to answer questions posed about the subject
matter in order to provide the students with accurate information. Without a teacher who
knows the content, and who is willing to create interactive activities and lessons to
provide the information simply for the students, the classroom will fall into chaos.
Assessments should vary as much as the instruction so that students can showcase their
talents in multiple modes.
Classroom management is another essential portion to providing a classroom
where engagement is possible. A structured class schedule that starts and ends on time,
with timed activities and on task assignments will not only help the students feel more at
ease in their environment, but will also assist them in becoming truly engaged in the
lesson rather than simply listening or a forced participation. A set of class agreements on
rules, regulations, and expectations is essential to begin the interactions with the students,
so that they not only know how the class will be run but also so that they can collaborate
on which methods will better suit their learning needs. Classroom management
complements the safe learning environment by setting the rules and expectations of
students in a way that will not restrict their creativity. Having set boundaries and set
consequences, then following through with the punishment if necessary, is a critical part
of good classroom management.
Ultimately, if the students are engaged in the class lessons and activities and are
active participators in their learning, they will not only be able to succeed in the
classroom, but also will have the tools and knowledge foundations to be able to take

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learning beyond the classroom, and to ultimately become global citizens and learners.
Emphasis on engagement through a safe environment, a knowledgeable teacher, and
proper classroom management will help students to succeed.
While teaching English, it is important to focus on reading, writing, speaking,
listening, and language studies. In regards to reading, focus must be on literature,
informational texts, and foundational skills. Not all students will be at the same reading
level, and finding them materials to supplement the readings that are on their reading
level is important in helping them grow. By adding supplementary materials that may be
on a lower reading level that they can understand, you encourage the students not to get
discouraged and allow them to see that theyre capable of understanding a harder text. It
is important to have students practice their writing often both formally and informally,
with different audiences in mind. Journaling is a key to my classroom, as it allows
students a low-stress and private way to express their thoughts in writing and allows them
to grow as writers. Writing should be revised, revised, and revised again. Any revisions
that a student wants to make, no matter how much later in the school year, will be
accepted and will be examined for feedback and progress. Speaking and listening is also
vital to an English classroom, because they are simply another medium other than writing
to convey ideas. Students should be able to convey ideas through speech in formal,
informal, and personal settings. Speaking and listening will be encouraged through group
work, whole-class discussions, presentations, performances, and even through audio
recordings in order to get them acclimated in expressing their ideas aloud. Listening and
giving feedback with those different mediums is just as important to the learning process.
Language itself is also important; the teaching of vocabulary is vital for learners.

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Teaching vocabulary should be done both with explicit directions and also through
conversation. By using more difficult words with my students, and explaining what they
mean without focusing on them as vocabulary it will let them see the word as usable in
everyday conversation and will broaden their vocabulary in that means. Each different
section discussed is vital to the English classroom, and can connect to the CCSS.
The Common Core State Standards is a highly controversial topic that I support.
Theyre not meant to limit the teachers, but rather give them standards for which every
student should meet by the end of that grade level. By having that guideline, I am able to
adapt my lessons creatively to meet the standard and assess the progress that my students
make throughout the year to meet those skills. They level the playing ground for students
throughout the United States so they can move from one part of the country to another
without falling behind or being ahead. As a teacher it is my goal to connect my objectives
to standards, not make my objectives only because of the standards. The standards are a
guide to what students should learn, but they do not limit what students can learn beyond
that.
Along with objectives, assessments must also connect to the Common Core State
Standards. Assessments should be able to measure how much a student has learned;
whether they are low stakes informal formative assessments, formal formative
assessments such as worksheets and quizzes, or higher stakes summative assessments to
wrap up a unit. Assessment is something that I care deeply about because it is not just
something to have the students do to show their learning, it is something that they should
build, create, and utilize in order to have tangible evidence of their progress and their
skills. Assessments should not be made simply to have students repeat answers, or

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compile facts, but it should show their progress, their learning, their application of ideas.
If a good objective is written based on the standard, you should already know the mode in
which you will be assessing the students, and it should benefit them.
By the time that the students have completed my classroom, I hope that theyve
created or discovered their voice and style and are confident enough to experiment with
that. Learning English and literature should not be seen as a tedious task, but an
adventure. It should be an exploration of voices new and old, and a formation of voices.
English is one of the only subject in which you can truly take a look at the human
condition, and by learning about that through reading, writing, speaking, and listening
students will grow as educated individuals and members of their society.