I come from humble beginnings. Growing up my family was certainly not the wealthiest, most educated, most athletic, or even most happy at times. Yet through all of that I have grown up to strongly and firmly cherish my upbringing. It is from mine and my families struggles that I learned the two most important things about my life and how I wanted to live.
The first I learned from my mother, who was always generous of her time and attention to not just her family, but to friends and countless others. I saw this example and learned from my observations and conversations with her the value of empathy. For me, empathy is the key to being happy in life. Empathy allows people to develop strong emotional connections to one another, it allows them to appreciate and feel gratitude for the positive aspects of their lives, empathy creates a world of respect, and most importantly to me, it provides me with a guide for understanding others and encourages me to constantly consider how I can most effectively communicate with people to help them understand me. Having control over how I communicate with others gives me a sense of security that the impact and influence I have on someone will be what I intend and hopefully decreases the amount of misunderstandings or negative impacts that I might exert on someone.
The second lesson I learned from my dad, who is a strong and vigilant man, always working, but always with a purpose, and usually that purpose revolves around enhancing the lives of others. Having such a strong willed and tirelessly dedicated male role model to look up to I quickly adopted his work ethic. After considering why having a strong work ethic was a valuable trait to possess I discovered that the real key to this endearing and respectful part of my dad’s personality lied not in his constant business, but the dedication and motivation that drove him to want to keep busy and keep working. He wanted to provide for my mother and my siblings and me and his way of showing his love and appreciation for us was to keep working. This recognition of dedication and motivation being such a powerful driving force has helped me to focus on the positive aspects of my life and strive to show my full appreciation of their positive influence on me by working hard to excel in whatever capacity I could. Excel at being a good son or brother, excel at being a good athlete in high school, excel at being a good teacher, excel at being a good friend, etc.
These two life lessons are the cornerstones of my educational philosophy. I will strive to be the best teacher I can and show empathy to my students, their parents, other teachers and staff, etc., by reaching out to them regularly and making it clear that I am open and available for discussions. I will constantly consider my influence on students and how my communication style/strategies could impact them. I will hold my students accountable for their own triumphs and mistakes by expecting them to celebrate and show pride in their victories and contemplate and find understanding for what led to their mistakes.
As far as teaching strategies are concerned I will constantly emphasize the importance for my students to feel and display empathy/respect for one another and to recognize the value of communication by placing context on historical events or current events or sharing personal stories that I have learned from. I will get to know my students and work hard to find ways to help them discover an intrinsic motivation towards learning so that they can fully appreciate and understand why they are learning.
I will use my creativity to create a productive and fun classroom environment by engaging the students in discussions with each other, incorporating their personal interests into learning activities, showing them that it is okay, and even encouraged, to laugh at yourself sometimes. I will find ways to meet the individual needs of each student by talking to them and their families, observing their behavior and progress in class, and using my educational training/background and creativity to get through to them and help them be and feel more confident and successful.
I will advocate for my students when I feel they are not being supported properly. I will continue my professional development to ensure that I am providing the best teaching and instructional tactics based on their effectiveness to do the most good for the most amount of students and adjust, improve, or substitute for those students who might benefit more from a different approach. I will collaborate with other teachers and professionals to make sure that my students can be exposed to other perspectives and ideas other than just my own.
Most importantly though, I will respect and appreciate my students and their families. I want my students and their families to feel comfortable and safe and I also want them to feel invigorated and motivated about the educational journey they are on. I want my students to desire to help others and make the world a better place in whatever capacity that may manifest itself, within the realm of their interests, personalities, and talents.