Having been able to have the experience of participating in cadet teaching in high school allowed me to know what I wanted to do with my life and made me realize that I loved working with children and found that being a teacher would satisfy my need to be around children. Being able to track the progress of my students and seeing how successful they become in the future will be the thing that drives me everyday to provide the best learning environment for the students. Through my years of schooling and also being in two teaching classes, I have been able to realize the teaching philosophies that make up my style of teaching and what I believe in. Perennialism, Existentialism, and Essentialism are the three that I relate to the most.
Wanting to be a teacher started to become my goal around my junior year in high school. I started out wanting to be a Psychologist because I was really good with working with people and helping them. But then I turned to teaching because I realized that I enjoy being around kids. I feel that it would be very satisfying to see that, with the help of your guidance and assistance as a teacher, a student is able to grow and mature with knowledge.
During my senior year I got the opportunity to do cadet teaching within a second grade class and also a seventh grade class. This is where I realized that I wanted to engage and study in Elementary Education. Being able to have the opportunity of cadet teaching allowed me to realize that I really wanted to be a teacher. The experiences that I was able to gain let me know what it would be like in a classroom if I were to become a teacher. The hands-on experience that I had with the children was great for me because it gave me a head start on working with the age group I am interested in. It was nice to be able to see the students change on a daily basis and how I will have to adapt to that change and still be able to teach them. Also I will have to make sure every student gets the same opportunities to the best learning environment that will allow them to be the most successful in class.
The three main philosophies that I was similar with in that I agreed with what it stood for and resembled the standards and objectives that I stand for are Progressivism, Existentialism, and Perennialism. “Progressivism focuses on the child rather than the subject matter. The students’ interests are important; integrating thinking, feeling, and doing is important. Learners should be active and learn to solve problems by reflecting on their experience. The school should help students develop personal and social values. Because society is always changing, new ideas are important to make the future better than the past. Influential progressivists include John Dewey and Francis Parker” (Parkay 118). The reason why this philosophy means a lot to me is because I feel like sometimes in schools they force the children to learn about certain topics and do not allow them to have a choice in what they are learning about. I am not saying that the students should exclusively choose the lessons they want to learn, but I like how Progressivists want the children to learn from experiences they have had.
Personally, I feel like I would have learned certain subjects in school better if the teacher would have related it to me and made me comfortable in the environment. Another thing that I always thought teachers could do better in school was allowing the students to learn while playing. Instead of having the students sitting in their seats and doing homework they should learn actively instead of passively. Also in the Progressive Philosophy they feel that “the teacher serves as a guide or resource person whose primary responsibility is to facilitate student learning” (Parkay 87). Teachers can sometimes not allow the students to become who they should be and force them to do activities with their help instead of letting the students do it by themselves and see what the outcome is.
The second most important aspect of my philosophy in teaching is Existentialism. “Existentialism is a highly subjective philosophy that stresses the importance of the individual and emotional commitment to living authentically. It emphasizes individual choice over the importance of rational theories.” “People are born, and each person must define him- or herself through choices in life” (Parkay 118). Much like Progressivism, Existentialism focuses more on the students and what they feel is important to them. It allows for the students to be creative with what they do and are not judged upon what they do. “Existentialism offers the individual a way of thinking about my life, what has meaning for me, what is true for me” (Parkay 88). To me I feel like Existentialism and Progressivism is a lot alike but a main difference is that Existentialists put a major emphasis on what is important to the child and what will help them be successful in the future. Sometimes teachers try to force a student to learn a specific way of learning something new, but they forget that not all students learn the same way and that is another main focus for Existentialists, is to let the student be themselves and learn whatever helps them the best.
The last main philosophy that corresponds with what I stand for is Essentialism. While writing this credo I realized that I did not really like what the creators of Perennialism said and while looking at the other philosophies I realized that I felt like I agreed with Essentialism. “Essentialism was a response to progressivism and advocates a conservative philosophic perspective. The emphasis is on intellectual and moral standards that should be transmitted by the schools. The core of the curriculum should be essential knowledge and skills. Schooling should be practical and not influence social policy. It is a back-to-basics movement that emphasizes facts. Students should be taught discipline, hard work, and respect for authority” (Parkay 118). The essentialists believe that the students should be taught with instructions that will prepare them for the future life they will live. Instead of trying to push policies onto the students, teachers should allow the students to become prepared for the challenges they will face in their lives.
Writing the this credo has allowed me to realize what philosophies I agree with and will base my teaching styles on when I become a teacher and have control of a class. As you can tell one of the main focuses I will try and follow through with will be allowing the students to always be themselves. Going through school there were times when instead of the teacher letting me create my own morals they pushed learning onto me and did not allow me to learn on my own and relate the topic to my own experiences in my life. Another focus of mine that I have found through the credo is that I feel strongly that the students should have a say in what they are learning. From a personal experience I know that if I was not interested or did not know exactly what I was learning I did not really want to be apart of the lesson. So one thing that I would do when I become a teacher would allow the students to give their input on what they want to learn, then my job would be to correspond that with the State Standards and make sure that the students are able to connect it to their lives. One of the many reasons why I chose to follow the career of being a teacher is so that I can give those students the chance to excel in everything they do with school and provide an environment where all of the students will feel welcome and want to come to school everyday and learn.
Parkay, Forrest W., and Beverly Stanford. Becoming a
Teacher. 7th ed.