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My Teaching Philosophy 1

My Teaching Philosophy

Caitlyn Hilton

Salt Lake City Community College

My Teaching Philosophy 2

In the teaching community we have come to accept the fact that every student is an

individual. It is understood that this means students learn in different ways and advance at

different times in different subjects. Even though it is understood that students learn differently,

it is important to understand that these differences in learning do not determine a student’s

overall capacity to learn. I believe that every student is capable of learning, despite challenges

they may face, and that anyone can learn anything with time, dedication, and an individualized

learning plan.

Many teachers may not realize that a child in their classroom has a learning disability.

Unfortunately, the children themselves, and their family members, may not realize this either.

When a learning disability goes unrecognized it can make school very difficult for students and

their teachers. I was a child living with an unrecognized learning disability as well as

undiagnosed anxiety disorder that directly affected my ability to learn. Had my parents, teachers,

and I known about my disabilities we would have had the benefit of being able to create a plan of

action to assist and better my learning. Despite being in an advanced placement program

growing up, I was under the impression that I was “stupid” as I was unable to match my peer’s

success in certain subjects. I am dyslexic, my spelling and handwriting as well as my mathematic

abilities suffer as a result. I feared going to school, not because of bullying or a lack of friends,

but because I was afraid of not understanding what was being taught. As a teacher I never want

a child to feel this way in my classroom.

As a teacher, I hope that through careful observation I am able to help each child learn in

a way that makes sense to them. Even children that do not suffer from learning disabilities have

subjects they want help with or struggle to understand. Taking the time to sit with a student and

discuss what methods of learning they prefer, or what can be done to make the subject clearer,
My Teaching Philosophy 3

can make all the difference in a student’s academic achievement. I very rarely see this approach

in classrooms, which I find a bit surprising. Helping a child understand how they learn best will

only set them up for future success. When I have seen this technique implemented it is generally

in elementary school. Understandably, teachers of older grades may not have the time or

resources to help every child develop a learning plan. In order to address learning differences in

older grades, a teacher may offer assignment choices that allow for students to pick an

assignment that they feel best displays their knowledge. I have had a few memorable experiences

with this type of teaching as a student. My ninth grade English teacher would hand us a packet

with a variety of assignment options. Some options included art projects, written papers, class

presentations, and creating a comprehensive study guide that another student might find useful.

Giving multiple options allowed students to choose project that best matched with their personal

learning style.

My ability to implement this technique in my own classroom has been limited as I have

only taught children of preschool age and younger. While it is not quite as complex, an education

plan can still be formed for children of preschool age. An example would be the introduction of

colors and their names to my two-year-old class. Due to observation I am aware that Student A

has trouble sitting still through stories, Student B prefers working and playing alone, and student

C is extremely tactile. An activity for Student A would be running around outside and finding

items of a particular color. An activity for Student B would be a matching game where they

quietly sort objects into colored buckets. An activity for Student C would be playing with play

dough in various colors. All of the lesson plans teach color, but each activity allows a student to

learn in a way that will work best for them. Let’s say that even after teaching to Student A’s

strengths, they are still struggling with colors. Moving on without this child can cause issues
My Teaching Philosophy 4

later down the line as they struggle to understand more complex lessons involving color, such as

color mixing. If you, as a teacher, intervene and give Student A additional time and instruction

they can learn the colors just as every other child in your class. It should never be assumed that a

student “just doesn’t get” a subject, or that they are “unteachable”.

By ensuring that your students are learning in ways that are unique to them, they won’t

feel left behind, and they are more likely to think of school in a positive light. There is nothing

more exciting than realizing the children you teach are excited to come to school. While it is next

to impossible that every child is happy every day, the goal is that they look back on their

experience in a positive light having gained knowledge that will help them in school and in life.

Thus, making your classroom be a beacon of hope, safety, encouragement, and positivity.