My teaching philosophy is something that will constantly change as I enter new environments and meet new people. I had created a philosophy in my first year of education when I had no prior knowledge of what teaching was like. Now, after completing my pre-internship experience, I feel as though I have been able to begin creating a philosophy of teaching that better represents who I am, and who I want to be as a teacher. As of now, my philosophy focuses on three main parts. They include: student success, creating a safe space, and being a continuous learner.
I believe that all students can be successful. However, finding that student success may not always be easy. As a future teacher, I think that it is important to be willing to make adaptations in order to help students be successful. Not all students learn in the same way, and not all students demonstrate success in the same way. I want my future classroom to be open to student to choice so that they can pick meaningful ways to demonstrate knowledge they have gained. I think this will help to support students in wanting to be successful. I also believe that no student should be left behind. Some students will refuse to work, or will be “lazy”. However, I do not think you can easily give up on these students. Collaboration and communication is important when working with these students to ensure that they are not left behind or forgotten. Everyone deserves a chance to be successful, it might just take some work and time to find out how this success can be achieved.
I believe that classrooms need to be a safe space for all students, as well as the teacher. I plan on teaching health, and within that area comes a lot of topics that can be uncomfortable to talk about. I want to build relationships with my students, and create an environment, that allows for everyone to ask questions, and share their opinions. This might not always happen, but I think by creating this environment, it can help with teaching the “tough” stuff. With this, I believe that honesty is key. I have to be open with my students, if I want them to be open with me.
I believe that as a teacher, I will be a continuous learner. I think that as a teacher, I will have to be open to change. I am going to encounter many different experiences. I have to take all of these as learning experiences so that I can improve my teaching. I want to be someone who has an open door to students, and other staff. This way I can learn from others, and build onto my teaching from that. I have to be willing to admit that I can be wrong, but that there is always room to change and improve. Teaching will be an endless learning experience, I just have to be open to learn from it.
I have attached two images of student work that was completed during my pre-internship experience. The first is one of the creative pieces a student submitted during the lesson on chronic illness. This piece of work was the first one to be presented, and it shocked me with how honest and open this student was in their writing. It made me realize that I have to gain trust in order for students to open up and share stories such as this one. This required the entire class to show a lot of respect, and to have a safe environment to share it in. The second image I have attached is the secret wall. During the health class, students were asked to write down any secret they wanted without putting their name on it. This was a way for students to feel comfortable in this environment, but not feel the pressure of everyone knowing it was them.
Lesson #1 – Health
This lesson plan is one I created for a grade 9 health class. The outcome that was being covered was about chronic illness. I had a class discussion about what chronic illness is and what some examples are, and then I had students create some kind of creative piece of work to demonstrate what it would be like to either have a chronic illness, or be close with someone who has one. I think that this was the strongest lesson I created during my pre-internship experience. I was able to gain the trust of my students in order to talk about a difficult subject, and had excellent pieces of work turned in as a result. I had strong classroom management skills which helped keep everything running smoothly and make for a comforting classroom environment. The only thing I would have changed about this lesson is making the work period on day two a bit shorter, since we missed having three students present. Other than that, I am pleased with the outcome of this lesson.
Lesson #2 – Physical Education
During this lesson, my partner and I used team teaching to teach zumba. We started with some class icebreaker and warm up activities in order to make everyone more comfortable, and then split into two groups to learn the zumba routines. Once each group was given time to learn it, they had a “dance off” with the other group where they performed what they just learned. The feedback I received on this lesson from the cooperating teacher I had was making sure that all technology was ready and running smoothly before hand. The videos took longer to load than we had anticipated, which put the class behind a bit and made everything seemed rushed at the end. This is part of making sure all materials are together and ready to go before the lesson. Overall, this lesson was fun to participate in with the students.
Lesson #3 – Psychology
This lesson taught the students about the endocrine system. We had students watch a short video, gave a lecture, and then gave a hand out to be completed. This lesson ran smoothly, but I had extra time at the end that I did not know what to do with. I ended up having the class do the Clap, Slap, Hooray activity. My cooperating teacher told me that I should always have extra activities planned so that if there is extra time to kill, I do not panic. I agree with this feedback, and have to start planning extra since sometimes lessons go faster than anticipated.
Lesson #4 – Psychology
The final lesson I have attached was one of my favourite to teach. The class was learning about multiple intelligences, so I created station activities for the students to complete to see what each intelligence focused on. I thought that this was a fun lesson to teach because students had hands on activities which emphasized what they were learning.
As a group, we created a treaty lesson and resource package that included treaty content and outcomes into a health lesson. Our lesson focused on the medicine wheel and making connections to personal health. We had students compare the medicine wheel to the 100 Years of Lost exhibit, and to their daily lives. From this, we had them create goals to improve their health.
Treaty Lesson and Resource Package
Attached is my letter of introduction for my cooperating teachers. In this letter I included some of my interests, teaching goals, and part of my teaching philosophy.
Letter of Introduction
During my pre-internship experience, the area which I grew the most professionally in is time management skills. I am generally an organized person, but it can be difficult to stick with time lines in a classroom because you cannot control everything that will happen with the students. I have attached two of the lessons that I taught during pre-internship. These lessons demonstrate my growth towards stronger classroom management skills.
English Lesson #1 – Before Professional Growth
English Lesson #2 – After Professional Growth
During the first lesson I taught in English, I had an idea about the time line I wanted to follow in order to cover all the content I planned. However, this quickly changed when I was teaching. Students would ask more questions than I had planned, the activity needed more explaining, and I ended up not being able to fit in the last portion of my lesson. As I saw the ending of class getting closer, I started to panic and would rush, which was obvious to the students and the cooperating teacher. The feedback that my cooperating teacher gave me as that I just have to stay calm, and get done what I can. He said that not everything is going to work as planned, and I need to learn how to adapt my lessons to this. He also suggested that I find a way to keep better track of time in order to assist with getting everything done. In the second lesson that I have shared in this post, I made obvious changes which fit into this feedback. I wrote down an exact time line that I intended to follow, and kept this at the front of the room with me for a reminder. I also wrote it on the board so the students had an idea of how the day would work. I kept a timer on me to make sure I was on task. Sometimes classroom discussions took longer than I had anticipated, but I kept the class on track by telling the students they could share their thoughts during the five minute break. After doing this lesson with my class, my cooperating teacher stated that I seemed more relaxed and the class did not feel rushed. This made for a more comfortable environment. Overall, this growth has shown the importance of adapting to when time changes during a lesson, but that visuals can help with staying on track and getting everything done.
This pre-internship experience has taught me how to overcome challenges, and to be open to change. During my experience, I was only able to teach my major one time. This was a shock for me considering the entire semester had been about me preparing lessons and assessment to teach based on my major. Rather than teaching my major, which is health, I taught English, individual environmental science, and psychology.
My teaching philosophy has always revolved around having different activities for students in order to help everyone achieve success in a way that best suits them. I was able to incorporate this idea into the lessons I planned for psychology and environmental science, but I struggled with this during my English lesson planning. At first, all I could think of for English assignments had to do with reading and answering questions. This works at times, but I wanted to change it up so that my students were engaged and interested in what I was teaching. I ended up doing a class debate, which I found worked well. All the students found information and presented it in a respectful manner. They took the activity quite seriously, which was re ensuring to see considering I did not know how it would work with the group of students I had. I know that classes might not always be this exciting, but it taught me to think outside of the box.
Because of this challenging experience, I was not only able to work on my teaching skills, but on my stress management skills. It was a busy three weeks, so it taught me the importance of staying organized. I made sure to get things done that had top priority, and look for additional support when needed.