Statement of Teaching Philosophy

All children can learn

In preparation for an upcoming job search as a first year teacher I have written my Statement of Teaching Philosophy.

Statement of Teaching Philosophy

After many years both living and working in educational settings, I have recognized that a caring, creative, and disciplined environment with individualized learning consistently develops a pupil’s love for education and commitment to personal achievement.  As a teacher and leader in my community I focus on two goals. Firstly, I build skills and knowledge in subject areas through individualized teaching techniques and relate all learning to daily life.  Secondly, I endeavour to provide students with the support and tools needed to maintain a sense of self-awareness, self-acceptance and positive self-esteem when facing life’s challenges.

My parents taught at independent schools for over thirty years.  At an early age I became aware of the dedication, time and commitment required in educational roles.  As a result, I planned to pursue full-time work in education only when my own children reached a more independent age and after I gained a variety of experiences in the field to ensure it was a career path I would enjoy.  Therefore over the past twelve years I purposefully volunteered and worked part-time in education with students aged five to eighteen to gain experience and determine what specific area of teaching I would enjoy.  I discovered exactly what I hoped to discover; I love working in education on all levels!  I leave every lesson or experience (even the difficult ones) with renewed energy, excitement and drive to make the next one better still.

Over the years I taught lessons or offered support in subjects which were not always my area of expertise ranging from religion to mountain orienteering.  A constant thirst for learning drove me forward with enthusiasm, becoming highly knowledgeable on each subject.  Studying new topics also gave me the wonderful vantage point of being in the shoes of a student.  Subject knowledge is naturally one of the main ingredients to teaching.

The second ingredient is preparing effective lesson plans to include a wide variety of creative activities. Lessons I believe must be disciplined but also have an element of creative fun. For example, when teaching English lessons on characterization I incorporated a drama activity where students acted out the character traits of main characters from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  Additionally in my Duke of Edinburgh lessons, students hold ice cubes long enough to feel a cold similar to that on the hills where they hike; as a result they never forget to bring warm gloves on expeditions. As a church leader I found music, clay and cooking to be useful ways to reinforce learning points; the disruptive boys in the class quickly became focused when turning bible stories into rap songs.  Of course there is a skill to maintaining class control during activities, but once this is mastered a lesson quickly becomes informative, disciplined and enjoyable.  When assessing what students have learned in my lessons, it quickly becomes evident that retention of knowledge is higher when activities take place.

With knowledge and pre-planning in place, the final ingredient I find essential is monitoring learning throughout the lesson.  I constantly observe behaviour and speak with students, gauging their interest, comprehension and enjoyment.  I take part in group discussions or work with individuals asking questions, identifying and assessing learning needs, and relating lessons to their interests and daily life. Knowing that learning and retention occurs differently in every student, I enjoy discovering new techniques to reach each student individually. The most useful approach I find for uncovering individualized teaching techniques and assessing learning is simply through observation and listening carefully during all conversations.

Furthermore, in every educational role I hold, including administrative support roles, I feel it is crucial to continuously develop self confidence, self-awareness and positive self-esteem in students.  As a Play Leader for ages 5 to 11 I created BounceBall, a playground version of basketball and soccer.   To include all abilities, I nominate referees, ball collectors, linesmen, scorekeepers and cheerleaders.  All children involved feel a sense of belonging and success.  I still enjoy the daily stampede of children running up to me excitedly asking, “Miss, are we playing BounceBall today?”  I also have great success integrating shy children, building their confidence through games involving only one or two people to start.  Aggressive children I find often lack confidence in communicating their emotions; I build their trust by listening, helping them realise it is ok to feel angry, and developing their confidence in talking about their feelings.  Additionally, weekend long hiking expeditions with Duke of Edinburgh groups aged 14-15 allows time for students to speak on many topics, and as trust develops some students open up about their worries.  Listening thoroughly and responding with positive feedback is incredibly important to developing their personal sense of importance and building confidence.  Finally, interacting daily with students in my administrative support roles I always find ways to praise their work or offer advice if needed.  Witnessing on a daily basis students growing to new levels of confidence and success as a result of conversations they have had with me leaves me secure in the knowledge I am achieving an important goal in education.

On the road to confirming a career in education was for me, people along the way including teachers warned me of the downsides of the industry. “Don’t do it!” they practically shouted complaining about work load, pupil behaviour, increased surveillance, and more.   Taking these comments very seriously I investigated every issue and after much reflection I realized I also faced many constraints and frustrations in business sales too. However, my overall enjoyment of wanting to help people was so strong that I managed to find solutions, enjoy my work and reach very high levels of success.  This innate passion for helping is a key quality that will drive me forward.  Therefore, after twelve years of exploring and gaining experience in schools, I can confirm I wish to purse a full time career in education.  I look forward to following my passions of sharing knowledge, inspiring learning, and helping others to continuously achieve their best in life.  I relish all opportunities where I can continue to live out my philosophies in teaching in order to make a difference to both individuals and the whole of society.

Blogging Blues Lifted

blogging-confusion

I think  (watch this space) that I am starting to finally get my head around blogging, even if only a wee little bit more so each week.  Thankfully, after looking  and feeling like this woman last week, I am finally smiling a bit more while I fiddle around on screen.

I have discovered so many amazing blogs already, thank you everyone for sharing.   I will learn the best ways to share with others soon I promise.

Followers please be patient with me as I learn the technical side.  And more importantly as I gradually learn what I want to write about regularly and to whom. Can those two things ever be narrowed down?  We shall see.  Advice and guidance always welcome.

Thank you all for taking this journey with me, I have enjoyed this new way of keeping company and making new friends.

Snow Falls Into the Emotions of Life

JEANNE - WIN_20150131_004426 (2)

Snow falls silently after midnight.  My children sleep deeply as Nature’s white blanket warms the garden bed.  In the shimmering stillness, I reflect on tonight’s movie Fried Green Tomatoes, on beautifully written blogs I discovered in the afternoon, and on my decadent daily dose of Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey.

Times have changed drastically since Dorian’s day in 1891 and even faster still since Jessica’s Tandy’s acting days in 1991, but similar emotional experiences continue to bind us.  Wrapped in my woolen blanket I watch each unique drifting snowflake; each a unique person from a different place.  I observe that despite differences all snowflakes ride the same exhilarating emotional breezes and storms until reaching a final resting place knitting together as one.

Bloggers Block

Blogging! What was I thinking?
Blogging! Scary!

I created this blog with great intentions of improving upon my writing skills and braving the world of public writing. The only way to learn to fly is to jump, right?

One month later posts are few. My blog haunts me constantly; obtrusively whispering, “I am still here, when will you write again?” To which I offer many replies. For example: Tomorrow I will have more time. Family and work come first. My writings and ideas are not worthy of people’s time. I am not ready. I am not good enough. Blogging is not right for me.

Blog or no blog, only one thing will ever be enough to quiet the persistent whispers thundering daily through my mind incessantly echoing, “Write, please be brave enough to write!”  Obviously, I must simply write and keep on writing!

My blog squeezes immovable crushing pressure on all sides every day. I wonder, when pushed to the point of explosion will bloody juices splatter and dry up in defeat? Or will this steady maceration turn ideas into full-bodied smooth words that will resonate on the minds of others?

“Just write!”, I tell myself again! Writing constantly will slowly melt the fear led freeze, finally letting the rivers run. I know this must be true as I am offered the same advice from trending #writing tips on Twitter. I am not alone. So here I type, thesaurus by my side (shh don’t tell anyone – did Oscar Wilde do the same). Metaphors, similes, interesting vocabulary and personifications are sitting in a nest of inhibition and ignorance, now officially challenged in hopes that one day they will soar.

Courage don’t fail me now. My writing is done for the day; my thoughts bravely shared, interesting or not!  Help me to hit “post”. I tell myself, “Remember, you are not alone. What is the worst that can happen?”  Doubt is creeping in,  “Maybe I should have a pen name instead….”  No, here it goes….Jump! Continue reading

In response to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/ice-water-steam/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/ice-water-steam/

I have always moved and still continue to move rapidly in all forms, changing and returning again and again.

Starting mid flow, I am a waterfall, tumbling head over heals, spraying mist to drench strangers with smiles, love and trust.

Of course this openness has occasionally left me falling hard onto rocks. Thankfully, this is not always the case and more often I plunge into a playground of bubbles. I continue in the slowing flow either dwindling along the river bed or lying on the top of the foamy waves eventually rushing into the sea.

Swimming among the bathers and every fish I dangle and dart in the freedom and huge expanse enjoying incredible journeys in every corner of the seabed. Yes, occasionally there are spooky sets of sharp teeth, sneering smiles and unblinking eyes of doom looming in the water, but the next current saves me and swoops me off towards laughing frolicking groups, lapping it up under the sun in the waves.

I never go too deep for too long because I need to be ready to be transported up into the sky in a fine mist, flying fresh and new again, looking down onto the beautiful earth below. I fly fast on the wind or glide in a warm air pocket. I jump from cloud to cloud. I ride every air current exploring every land below. All short and wonderful trips, all different too because anything long and lasting never seems to hold my interest.

When I am ready, I fall gracefully back to earth sometimes as a snowflake dressed for the annual crystal ball. Other times, in anger I pelt the ground as a hailstone – but it never solves anything. When I am sad and even when I am happy I rain in large drops and free fall into the stream, then I glide along the slow current of the river until it builds up pace and heads for the waterfall once again.

As for the future, I would not want it any other way. Free and always simply me with the simple hope lifting up troubled lives by creating rainbows when I dance in sun or by brightening dark winter days with sparkling crystals of light.

Writing Prompt inspired by The Write Practice

Quick 15 minute creative writing based on photo in link below.

http://thewritepractice.com/green-sneakers-writing-prompt/

I ran until I could run no more.  My chest was tight, I could hardly breathe.  The cold air turned my breath in to tiny sharp icicles stinging my narrow throat, sharply twisting their way into my lungs.  I could still hear footsteps in the distance, I was not alone.  No matter how fast or how far I ran, the voices and footsteps would always find me, rattling the frozen cubes of thought in my brain.  No, do not rattle, do not melt, do not let emotion or colour into my heart!  The pain is too great.  I sit in silence, my body growing cold.  I look down at my shoes, my green shoes, and fall into a flood of tears. Glaringly green with great guidance and comfort, my shoes steady me again.