Teacher Diaries: Ms. Vivien – Teaching Philosophy
I would like to summarize my educational philosophy using Walt Whitman’s An Old Man’s Thought of School.
“And there I see – these sparkling eyes”
I believe a teacher should ignite the passion towards knowledge in every child and make their eyes sparkle as they learn new knowledge. To achieve that, aside from the zeal, a teacher should also be creative enough to make learning fun and enjoyable so students can have fun while learning. This is especially possible with English, which is closely related to their daily lives, so they can participate in many authentic activities.
“These stores of mystic meaning – these young lives”
Despite being young and innocent, students are stores of potential and have the key to the future. I firmly hold that a teacher’s job is to excavate these potentials and polish them to be the sparkling gemstones of talents. I love making students write short pieces in my lesson, which I treat as casual correspondences between teacher and students and help me understand them more to develop rapport with these young stores of mystic meaning.
“Building, equipping, like a fleet of ships – immortal ships!”
Learning should be a collaborative process between students and teachers. Through student-centered approaches, teachers should “build” the student using knowledge and facts, which are the basic framework for them to set sail into the wide unknown world. But, what is on the ship, what is to be “equipped” depends on the students. Teaching is not just about hard facts, but also the soft values. Through giving students guidance and helping them see things in multiple perspectives, students will learn to make informed choices and develop positive values, which will become the bread and grain for them in their long life journey, and make the ships of knowledge truly lasting and immortal. Such positive values shall give them strength to succeed in this complicated world. Teachers should also respect the values they uphold and give them support under the condition that their decisions are well-informed. We produce ships of students, but what is loaded will depend on the students, and we shall do our best to make each ship strong and sturdy and see them off with a fulfilled smile.
“Soon to sail out their voyage over the measureless seas”
The seas of knowledge are measureless. I believe knowledge, every subject, is interconnected, and English has the potential to cross all the boundaries to help us understand the world. English, being a skills subject, focus on the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Through receptive skills like reading and listening, students can understand more about the world through reading and listening about different subject matter, and for productive skills like writing and speaking, they can, through words, express themselves and in the process, understand more about their own selves, turning them into a retrospective learner. Being a retrospective learner is the starting point to an independent learner and nurturing students to be independent learners should be the ultimate goal of a teacher, so that after they graduate, even without us, they are free to set sail over the measureless seas of different challenges in the world.
“On the soul’s voyage”
After all, life is a journey, and we are the guardians of the students’ soul. As an educator, I hope I can nurture students into lifelong learners who are well-prepared for any challenges ahead, learners who excitedly anticipate the unknown future, instead of ones who nervously tackle it with fear.