Education is something most desire, some crave, and others have no interest. It is one of those things you cannot force onto someone and that as educators is an important thing to understand. I believe that there are many things that go into educating a child. We have so many influences that change how we look at the world. We have been educated for years, we’ve been taught to think as educators, and then there are our own morals and values. I think it is important to take all of that as well as things like American Creed Values and philosophies seriously. In my opinion the most important things to consider are the values of service and diversity, as well as the progressivism philosophy.
Miriam Webster defines service as “work done by a person or group of people that benefits other.” Service is an important to me because I have seen how it can changes lives. I was a part of the YMCA Teen Leaders for eight years of my life. I learned more from those people than I could have ever learned just being in school. I met some of my best friends who have changed my life from the service trips I went on with the Y. I attended something called Leaders Training School where I learned how my actions can change the world. I learned that faith and love are enough to make a difference through my service. I cannot thank the Y enough. I think for students it is important to teach my students the important of service. I want to teach high school and I think that is when their service can have a HUGE impact. Students have the chance to go out of their way for other students (their own age and the younger students) and make a difference with each other. I think it would be easy to teach students by using literature.
We are raising our students to be leaders. I want my students to really understand that they have a gift of service in their lives. Condoleezza Rice writes “Leaders’ choices matter too, but they are constrained by the institutional landscape within which they are expressed” (13). We may be trying to raise the leaders of tomorrow, but what if we are limiting them? By our own limitations and fears we are limiting our kids. In a classroom I love seeing students step up and help their peers and even help their teachers in anyway. If we inflict any kind of fears onto our students they will not have comfort in our room. I mentioned before, I was raised on service. I live my life full of service. Others are not so lucky to know this life. I have the opportunity to influence these students to take my lessons of service and thoughtfulness into their lives of the world. Life continues beyond the four years of high school. Our society depends on US to make that society. Progress us forward and inflict change. Students are depending on us to teach them life lessons beyond the text. I think service is one of those life lessons. There are always people who need someone’s help. It doesn’t have to be a large act of service. Small acts add up and make a big difference, Our students can make a difference but it starts in our classroom. It starts with our courage to teach them more than lesson we are giving.
Dictionary.com defines diversity as “The condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety; especially: the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization.” I think diversity impacts my life every single day. I am a part of the LGBTQA+ community and I know how important it is to be accepted for who you are. I have a huge advantage whereas I do not ‘look’ like I am a part of the community, however whenever I go out with the person I am dating it is almost impossible to go out without someone looking at us. I think it is important to teach students diversity because they want to be accepted themselves. They are spending these years in high school learning who they are, and they are all different. It is important they know they can be accepted wherever they go. I want them to feel especially accepted and loved in my own classroom. Diversity would be easy to teach with the book “Wonder”. It is about a boy who looks different than his classmates and how he learns to make friends with the hardships he is faced with. I think this would go along with Ohio Learning Standard “Integration of Knowledge and Style” #8 “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence”.
Our textbook tells us “To understand and nurture the learning potential of all students, teachers need to understand the influences that culture and social class exert on both students and schools” (6). I think this really speaks to diversity in the school system because we are now taking in student’s background. When a student walks into my classroom on the first day, most likely, I have ZERO idea where they have come from. Their home life will affect how I can teach them and what I teach them. I have a duty to know my students. If I cannot understand who they are, I have already failed my children. We are the future for these children, their lives could quite literally fall into our hands. I fully believe that I have been through things so I can do this job better and help my community. I wish I could say I always took these things with a smile and best foot forward. However, I have questioned so many things so many time. Every time however, I fall back onto my teachers. These people shaped me into the person I am. Without my teachers, my rocks, I would have never accepted who I was. I would have never been able to be successful body in society. Isn’t that really our job in education? To uplift their differences and where they come from and give them the tools they need to be successful in their path. Diversity in students mean that college isn’t their only option, and we must give them their options where they will succeed. Just as they have before us.
Oakes and Lipton write about what they think are the most important philosophies of education. I am writing about what I believe is my most important or rather most believed in philosophy. I believe that within my experience I would follow progressivism most out of the four. The authors describe progressivism as a problem solving experience. The use of curriculum is active and engaging. The authors tell us that these theories are just ideas on different ways students should be taught and their views on society. In a chart they write the details of the progressivism philosophy. “Learning to solve problems of a democratic society” is the purpose. The preferred curriculum includes “problems engaged by society and children; including problems that interest children.” Our roles as teachers include “creating an environment rich with opportunity for student directed learning and group problem solving.” Lastly the roles of our students are “actively engaged in deciding what to study and in learning by doing rather than listening.” (107).
I think that this is important to use in a classroom. I have seen this being done in my field placement and I believe that this is something I will take with me into my own classrooms. As English teachers sometimes it’s hard to create an environment where we make the material meaningful to the world. We are teaching our students with a short story called “The Most Dangerous Game”. It is all about hunting and survival. To learn problem solving skills we asked our classes how hunting and survival related to their first year in high school. I think this is showing them that in their lives there are going to be a lot of hardships. Not everything is going to be easy and they need to work through their hardships. We allowed them to work in a group and figure out how they would overcome their hardships and battles throughout high school and possibly later in life should it continue beyond these years.
I think the purpose of progressivism education is to allow our students to become engaged members of society. They should know that they have a purpose in the world and they should know how to use that role positively. It is important to use class materials and make them meaningful. Never leave students wondering why they have to do an assignment or read a certain book. It is important to be transparent and excited about the material we are teaching. Our students reciprocate our attitudes so we need to be positive in the room. I think the role of the teacher in this aspect is almost like a mentor. We are preparing the students for more than college. We need to prepare them for anything they can experience outside the classroom. The students have an interesting role because they can decide what they learn and what they don’t. It really is up to them to make the most of their schooling experience.
In conclusion, teachers are responsible for educating our students beyond the books. We are using diversity, service, and progressivism to prepare our students to change their communities, their society, and their world. We have been given tools to change their viewpoints to be more positive. We are given a position, a position of power. Let us USE it. We are teaching the future leaders and masters of this country. We are shaping the minds of tomorrow.
Community Service. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/community service
Diversity. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/diversity
Learning In Ohio. (2017). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Learning-in-Ohio (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2018, from https://www.americancreed.org/watch
Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman, J. (2018). Teaching to Change the World. Milton: Taylor and Francis.
Palacio, R. J. (2017). Wonder. NY, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Rice, C. (2017). Democracy: Stories from the long road to freedom
Tozer, S., Violas, P., & Senese, G. (2009). School and society: Historical and contemporary perspectives. 6th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
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How I want to be a teacher. by Jayme is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.