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?