There are many different things that future educators are taught before they are placed within the first classroom. Teaching is so much more than the content that is taught, it is about the life lessons that the students take away each day they leave the class. These life lessons are beliefs that carry a teacher through their entire career no matter the situation. Life lessons teach much more than content, they give the students the chance to take on the world and change it for the better. Life lessons to teach students can be gathered by educators in a number of ways. Some of the ideas that are taught within the classroom, contain ideas about service, citizenship and how an educator can create a forward-thinking student looking out for others around them.
As a future educator, I believe that there are many things that can taught through life lessons that are interwoven within content. Some of these things include creeds that all Americans should live by, and two of those are “service and citizenship” (American Creed). Along with these ideas, is the idea for the betterment of others, this can be dissected into two different smaller ideals. The first ideal is that caring for the “welfare of others” and the “common good”, and the second is ensuring that people are as well informed as possible, or in other words making the flow of ideas stable and open (Apple and Beane). There is a final section of beliefs that will follow me through my teaching years, and those are two philosophies of what kind of teacher I am hoping I am. The first is the Perennialism and the second is Essentialism and these ideas assist in giving an idea of what is expected of a teacher and their students within the classroom (Oakes & Lipton 107).
Looking at the ideas found within the film American Creed, these ideas are the life lessons that should be imparted upon students within the classroom. Within the first creed of service, there lies an idea that helping someone out is helping yourself. This is something that I believe in, not just from an educator’s point of view, but also a humanitarian point of view. Service is something that has been ingrained within since I was a child. I can clearly recall while in grade school, going into the surrounding neighborhoods and doing various projects to help the community. Doing this certainly helped the school look good, but it also made it possible for us to get to know the people who lived around the school. The earlier that students are exposed to service, the more likely it will become second nature as an adult. Service brings people together, and it shows how the community is able to take of each other in times of need (American Creed).
The second creed that I believe should be taught within every life lesson is citizenship. Citizenship is so much more than the country that one belongs to. It is the rights and privileges that come with being a citizen of a certain nation. As a child, this is something that I over looked, but I still have memories of events that involved my parent’s citizenship, voting for example. I can still clearly remember going with my mom to the voting polls every November and then wearing the “I Voted” sticker. That idea stuck with me when I was teaching a unit, on government at my previous unit. The group of students I was teaching did not understand the importance and big idea that I stressed over and over was that it was their right that was given over 100 years ago. I hate to say it, but my former co-operating teacher and I did bribe the students in a way; we told them that if they came back the first time they voted after turning 18, that they would get a dum-dum sucker, this did get the attention of all the students, however I have a feeling that there will not be as big of a return as we are hoping. This reaffirms my idea that citizenship needs to be taught within each lesson and not just within government units. By ensuring that students remember the importance of citizenship, it will help them when it comes to fulfilling the opportunity granted to them as citizens (American Creed).
Looking at the first ideal for the betterment of others, “being concerned with the welfare of others and having concern for the common good”, this ties in with the idea of performing service for the betterment of others. Both of these ideals have been an important aspect in my life growing up. Often my school would go out and volunteer and afterwards we would talk about what we learned or even saw. Each time, we focused on how we were helping others and how this was setting up the system for others to help. This idea is the set up for most modern schools, making sure that all their students and their staff are focused on the common goal and the common good. If it was possible for all educators to focus on this idea and spread it, it would be much less difficult for students of all ages to turn their attention to helping others (Apple and Beane).
Looking at the second ideal, the open flow of ideas, ensuring that all people are able to be as fully informed as possible, ties in with the idea of being a citizen from American Creed (American Creed). The idea of every student and adult being well informed is something that is not new in curriculum. It is very important that students be able to decisions using all the possible knowledge available to them. It would not reflect well on any educator or citizen if anyone were to make a choice based on biased information. Informing students of what is going on within the world is the job of not only the parents but also the educators, certainly it is harder to find unbiased resources but not impossible. Knowing how to do so and doing so will help create a better democratic school for both the students and educators (Apple and Beane).
The ideas how a student and educator should teach and learn within a classroom is something that has very strong philosophy ties. The idea of the teachers and students is focused around what they are understanding from both the content and the way in which it being delivered. In the ideas of Perennialism, the task of the educator is to ensure that students are discovering the truth within the content, they are building their mind with more than just knowledge and finding life lessons that can be used at all times. This is the type of philosophy that can be connected to the social studies content, which will help me within the classroom, not only making sure my students are getting the content, but also that they are thinking about it. Social Studies is all about thinking critically about the various issues that are taking place within the unit, and this philosophy will help me do that (Oakes and Lipton 107).
The second philosophy that I believe will help shape my future classroom is the Essentialism idea. This idea is the breakdown making sure that history is not forgotten, but rather passed down. This idea aligns with the social studies content perfectly and can be used within any grade and unit. In terms of the other ideas within the philosophy, there are some ideas that can be cultivated and perfected for science and that is the idea of making sure that all students are trained on basic intellectual skills. This brings be back to learning and relearning the lab safety skills each year during high school. I thought it was rather pointless by my junior year and looking back I was only seeing with a student’s view rather than an educators view. This year I had the pleasure of helping my students at my current placement learn the lab safety skills for the first time and I now see all the reason as to why they are reviewed each year. They never change, but the students do and how they act with each fellow classmate may change each year, and that’s what makes it so important for the students to review these guidelines and know what is expected of them. This philosophy idea is a huge section of review and that is so important in working with the other philosophy ideas (Oakes and Lipton 107).
There is so much to understand when you are in a classroom, whether it be as a student or as a teacher, it is so much to learn and cultivate. All the ideas presented within this paper are just some of the beliefs that I have in terms of being an educator and helping students reach their best version of themselves. Being an educator is so much more than standing in front of 30 desks teaching content, it is about the life lessons that can be taught with that content no matter the unit or grade.
“American Creed.” American Creed, 2017, www.americancreed.org/watch.
Apple, M. W., & Beane, J. A. (2007). Democratic Schools: Lessons in Powerful Education (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Oakes, J., & Lipton, M. (2006). Four Influential Philosophies of Education [Chart]. In Teaching to Change the World (3rd ed., p. 107). McGraw-Hill Higher Education.Tags: University of Toledo
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