Mar 30, 2009

Why are we learning this?

The inevitable question.  

How does a teacher answer that?  A simple, "Because it's on the state test," doesn't sit well with me.  What do I say to a student?  More importantly, how do I justify what I teach?  Why am I a teacher?

At my oh-so-academically-progressive school I sit on the "Curriculum Core Team" where teachers study how to improve curriculum.  During these 1.5 hour meetings (which count as per session) I feel like I'm in college again.  Trying to wrap my brain around this idea of great curriculum and how to develop, revise, and improve curriculum is a frustrating task for this first year teacher.  Today's session was especially challenging for me.  The topic: rationales and teaching philosophies.  

As I struggle through my first year I'm beginning to feel that teaching could be more than a two year stint.  Consequently I feel cheated by choosing to be a Teaching Fellow rather than follow the traditional route to education.  I have never been asked to produce a teaching philosophy nor have I been taught to create rationales for units I teach.  Right now I'm doing what feels natural to me.  I'm teaching the best that I can.  

Though I don't know how long I plan to be in the classroom I can confidently say that I take teaching very seriously.  I care so deeply for each of my students, for their educations, and for their attitudes towards chemistry.  (Heaven forbid my former students tell tales of how crazy/horrible their high school chemistry teacher was!)  To hold myself accountable to the former statements I plan on writing a philosophy for teaching.  I think articulating my passion for teaching youth will keep me optimistic through the ups and downs of this job.

I don't know how y'all feel about this idea, but I think it's important that every professional produce a philosophy.  Why are you doing what you're doing?

1 comment:

Eyawn said...

I agree. Today, I decided to do a lil spring cleaning and rummaged through my closet. In it, I found old readers for ed courses, docs from OTF summer institute, and piles upon piles of papers kept since they were relevant to education & teaching. I'm reminded that I once studied education for the sake of studying education. I'm now living education and it's too bad I haven't found the time nor took the initiative to study education BECAUSE I'm living it. Something I definitely intend to change.