Program Overview





Classroom Page

My Philosophy

My philosophy of teaching has evolved over many years of teaching experience. As I reflected on my beliefs regarding teaching and learning, I found that I have three core beliefs:

--to promote a safe, nurturing, and educationally rich environment where the growth and development of every child can be facilitated
--to spark enthusiasm for learning
--to provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning

Each child in my class is unique in terms of background, beliefs, and abilities, and therefore all students do not learn in the same way. It is my job to do all that I can in every way possible to meet their needs and enable them to be successful in an ever changing world. A nurturing environment governed by respect and caring where the students feel safe to take risks, ask questions, and try new things as a community of learners is vital. Every student in my classroom, regardless of ability, is valuable. All children can learn from each other regardless of ability or handicap. With that in mind, my 5th grade students are “buddies” with a classroom of first graders. We get together twice per month to read books, play games, share writing projects, etc. Caring and compassion for others are life-long necessities in this world. Because I believe a classroom should be an educationally rich place filled with warmth, light, color, books, technology, and all the other tools needed to encourage learning, I work hard to create that environment for my students.

There are many ways to spark enthusiasm for learning. With so many distractions to student learning, as a teacher, I need every tool and technique available. While I stay focused on the curriculum standards, I believe it is vital to plan lessons that meet a wide variety of learning styles throughout a unit of study. Hands on activities, individual and collaborative projects, writings, discussions, websites, review games, online tests, novels, and more are part of my lessons. Textbooks can be one, but not the only, tool in my classroom environment. Another important tool for learning is technology. Computers play an integral role in the education of students today. My students are digital natives who have always grown up with technology, so it is a solid part of their day-to-day lives. It holds their attention and can engage them in active learning. I draw on their enthusiasm by using computers throughout the school day for research, blogging, web-based activities, webquests, online reviews and tests using Quia, Inspiration webs, iMovies, PowerPoints, podcasts, etc. My students are actively learning and practicing the standards while meeting my expectations.

Learning is a life-long process. The role of a teacher is to not only provide knowledge and facilitate learning for their students, but also to be a lifelong student, forever discovering new information that will help them better serve themselves and their students. Recently I’ve been sharing my learning experiences with my students as I work on my master’s degree. They relish hearing about my homework, test grades, and assignments. Knowing that I struggle with some assignments too, yet keep on trying, helps my students see that they can do the same. Each day my students and I learn something new. I encourage them to share their discoveries with me as I do with them. I hope my excitement for learning comes across to them and will be something they remember as they grow up. Learning really is fun!

The Teaching Profession
The teaching profession is a vocation second only to parenting in its importance to our children. It requires a passion and commitment that is difficult for others to understand. Everyday, I affect the future. A teacher is a teacher 24/7- that is the beauty and the challenge that must be embraced to be successful. On a personal level, I strengthen and improve the teaching profession by strengthening and improving my own skills and abilities. While I honor the best of education’s teaching practices, I’m also open to new methods to reach students. I perpetually monitor and evaluate my methodology in order to make adjustments to better reach my students. I treat my students, parents, colleagues, and the community with all the dignity and respect possible and let them know that I truly love my profession. I try to always be a positive role model and an advocate for public education. While continuing to further my own knowledge, I also facilitate workshops and mini sessions for my school district and have presented sessions at the TIE Conference. I serve on curriculum and other committees for the district, including the recent technology plan committee. I have voluntarily mentored new teachers in my building and I am a member of my professional education organization. I try to always be the teacher that I would want my own children to have.

With No Child Left Behind, accountability is the optimal word. Teachers are not afraid of being held accountable. Teachers teach to the curriculum standards and don’t mind being held accountable for them. The concern is the power that one paper-pencil test now has to affect the lives of our children. They are human beings with all the quirks, problems, joys, and sorrows that being human entails. Children must be accepted, nurtured, and educated regardless of background or ability. I strongly believe that one must employ numerous options to accurately assess the understanding of course content among diverse groups of learners. In my classroom I have developed various assessments from projects, rubrics, checklists, portfolios, and presentations to traditional tests. I am also confident in my district’s commitment to a teacher evaluation process and have participated in the development of that assessment tool. The evaluation process for our teachers is multi-layered and incorporates three divergent styles. This process holds teachers accountable, but does not base salaries on a one-time test of student scores.

In conclusion, I cannot imagine being anything other than a teacher. Teaching and learning are my passion and joy. The rewards are too numerous to mention. It has been my calling since I was a very young child, playing school in my grandmother’s basement. She was a teacher also and even though she is no longer living, I feel her presence every day when I walk into my classroom.