I deeply believe in challenging students to approach learning with a sense of enthusiasm, exploration, and willingness to embrace creative challenges. When you expect a high level of academic performance from students and give them a rigorous structure that is reinforced with positivity, they rise to the occasion.
Developmentally, adolescents react best to consistency, enthusiasm, and positive encouragement, which means that students need teachers to set clear procedures aimed at them flourishing. It is important to quickly assess when students learn and powerfully reflect it. When students see growth and positivity as the educational norm, then they are empowered for individual flourishing and classroom success.
I want to make learning relevant, interesting, and accessible for students, but while accomplishing this goal, I never want to sacrifice the successful academic traditions that underpin various rigorous education systems across the world. To me, the art of teaching is bridging the language of students and the language of academics. It is preparing succinct descriptions for big ideas, articulating difficult concepts in effortless visualizations, making connections between pop culture and literature, exposing students to today's intellectual opportunities, and anticipating how being smart can look cool through student eyes.
As teachers, we are only as impactful as our planning is thoughtful. We need to focus on skills that are relevant to students, empower students to follow their inquiry, and convey meaningful information efficiently. Whether we are selecting resources, structuring our classroom management, or trying to strike the delicate balance between direct instruction, student-centered practice, and reflection, we know that the decisions we make before a class determines its success.
With a limited amount of time, we must choose the instructional strategies that most impact students, and often, the most important thing a teacher can do for student growth is giving them time to write meaningfully, read widely and strategically, and reflect fully. Students can often become their own best teachers when given a purpose. Specifically, I believe in learning through writing, independent reading, and the power of targeted feedback. My personal passion is introducing innovative projects and gamification strategies to existing curriculum.
Depth of Questions
Generally, I strive to push students for depth of answers in their writing, as well as their speaking during classroom conversations and table discussions. Engaged students who push themselves will brainstorm bravely, write meaningful annotations, and analyze primary source texts appropriate to their reading levels.
It is vital to give students a regular, healthy sense of self-growth through formative assessments and student celebrations. I want to keep building on each student’s individual progress because kids need a growth process that builds on successes and identifies areas for growth through data. Every day, students recreate themselves through new learning, so there is no more important decision that teacher a makes than determining how to help a student grow daily.