Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ITLS 4015 Assignment

I'm taking a class to learn about technology tools for teachers. We're covering blogs this week. Our professor is allowing us to use our own blog, if we have one, for the assignment. So please don't mind my public homework.... :)

Why I wanted to become a teacher:
     I don't really have an exact answer to this question, just that it felt right. When I first started college, I had a long list of possible jobs I wanted. Teacher was on the list, but it took me a long time to weed out the others. When I did choose, I always pictured myself as a college professor. (I really didn't want to go back to high school!) However, I took the class, Teaching Writing, from Vini Exton, and she convinced me that teaching high school has its own benefits. For her class, we had to visit a local high school and observe a teacher. I knew from that point on that it was what I wanted to do.

Teaching Philosophy:
     My statement is a work in progress. Here is what I have so far:

Philosophy of Teaching Statement

As a secondary English teacher I have five goals: 1) to make sure that each student has the basic literary skills needed to communicate successfully in their endeavors after high school, 2) to introduce students to both classic and contemporary writing, 3) to help students see the world from behind the eyes of authors from various time periods, cultures, and opinions, 4) to encourage students to think critically, not only about the many worlds found in literature, but also to think critically about the world around them, and 5) to reach all aforementioned goals in a classroom that is a well-organized, safe environment for all students.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

    In my classroom, we will develop habits of writing and reading that will assist each student in their goals after graduating high school. We will each have a Writer’s Notebook, as demonstrated by Penny Kittle, in which we will practice writing every day. Habits regarding audience, purpose, and structure will be honed and secured, so each student can easily access the ability later, when writing college essays, preparing job resumes and cover letters, and communicating through the written word in the work force. We will also read every single day in class. Habits will be developed on recognizing different aspects of the written word. These habits will assist each student to read and understand what is being asked of them in any writing in their life beyond high school.

Anatole France said, "The duty of literature is to note what counts, and to light up what is suited to the light.” 

     Both classic and contemporary authors have light to give, and I will bring works of all types into my classroom for the students to explore, in hopes they discover what speaks to them.

E. M. Forster said, “What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.”

     By bringing various authors’ work into my classroom, I will show my students an array of human perspective. Through literature, our class will read accounts from all periods of time, across all cultures. Racism, slavery, sexism, and other harsh aspects of history, as well as more positive things such as triumph, joy, and love will come alive through the stories of people who have lived and experienced them firsthand. Acceptance for all people will be an expectation, and through the reading of others’ perspectives, I will be able to show my class why acceptance is so important.

Alan Purves and Richard Beach taught, “At the center of the curriculum are not the works of literature…but rather the mind as it meets the book, the response.” 

     In my classroom, students will not only discover new perspective through reading, they will also respond to it, think critically about it, and compare it to their own lives and the lives of others. Whole class and small group discussions will provide opportunities to hear and share responses to the literature. Assigned quick writing in our Writer’s Notebooks will require students to put their response on paper in order to “write it out” or clarify it. Longer papers about the literature will require them to refine and finalize their thoughts into a single, cohesive, and polished response. Throughout all of these stages, it will be emphasized that there may not only be one correct response. Society, experience, culture, and much more can shape and reshape any response to literature. Students will be encouraged to keep in mind the different responses others from a different society or time period might have to the literature, while discovering their own response to it. By finding their own response to literature, and hearing the responses of others, they will learn to think critically about different situations found in life. 

John Dewey said, “Organization is nothing but getting things into connection with one another, so that they work easily, flexibly, and fully.” 

     At the beginning of every school year, I will establish basic standards of behavior for my classroom. I will enforce my standards in every situation, staying consistent with the expectations and consequences I originally established. Respect for other people and their opinions will be expected in order to maintain a classroom environment that is conducive to learning and sharing.

My plans for teaching:
     I plan to student teach in the Spring of 2014. At that time, I will be applying to high schools in Salt Lake for an English Teaching and coaching position. After my first year of teaching, Nick will finish Pharmacy School, so I do not have any specific plans at that point. As for my more distant future: I have still not ruled out the option of someday teaching college. But we'll see where the wind blows. :)