Courtney Langton

Courtney is an aspiring high school teacher. Her teachables are History and English, but she's happy to teach anything that doesn't involve numbers or formulas. Her particular interest is in promoting gender equity and anti-oppression both in and outside the classroom. She writes a detailed To-Do list every morning, and enjoys nothing more than a good book and a plate of bacon on a rainy Saturday.

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan's primary interest is moral education. His teachable subjects are English and Music. He encourages critical thinking and hopes to teach his students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way. He likes making analogies and his favourite is one that compares life to jumping on a trampoline.

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Teaching Philosophy
Saturday, October 3, 2009

We'll panic about the upcoming practicum tomorrow. But for now, I thought I'd post something a little more positive. One of our recent assignments for teacher's college was to write up our teaching philosophy. Here is mine followed by an explication of it:

I once wrote a précis on what I considered to be my educational philosophy and this is what I came up with:

“I want my students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way.”

That statement still holds true for me and I believe that even a lengthier exposition will ultimately have that statement at its core. In many ways, I would like to consider myself a moral educator inasmuch as I am an educator in my actual teaching subjects – English and Music – because I believe that it is important for students to be good people, regardless of what they study.

I think students are capable of amazing things. Part of my teaching philosophy is to facilitate and inspire students to speak up if they have something to say and to express themselves in such a way that is clear and interesting. I hope to model this behaviour by being as clear and interesting as I can when I express myself in the classroom. Furthermore, I want my students to discover what is important to them because I think everyone needs to believe in something. There is saying that goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything,” and this is something I take to heart. I believe that the world can be a better place; and it starts with my students. That is why I’m a teacher.

In a lot of ways, my teaching philosophy relates very easily to my teachable subjects: English and Music. The study of English, in a very compact nutshell, is about how we communicate. It is about how we use the English language to convey ideas – through dialogue, poems, speeches, essays, and plays – in ways that are both affective and effective. I also think that we study Music because it inspires us and I also see it as an opportunity for expression, only through sound rather than words.

The more you know, the more interesting you can be. That is as good of a reason for lifelong learning as any other. I hope to focus my teaching on making connections through everything my students learn so that they understand why it is important to keep informed. But as stated in my précis, all the knowledge and drive in the world won’t be anything to be proud of unless my students are fundamentally good people as well. To respect and support one another; to empathize; to trust; to forgive; to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded… these perspectives are central to the kind of educator I hope to be, as idealistic as that may sound.

Now that I read it again, it reads a little funny. But I think that that's mainly a result of me writing a philosophy in response to certain topics they wanted you to touch upon. The general gist of it is this: I want to teach my students good principles. See, there's so much talk going on in all my classes about "what we should teach our students" and then arguments ensue over why we need to learn Shakespeare or how the world is changing so fast that a lot of what we teach our students will lose relevance by the time they hit "the real world". Even if that's true, I feel like there are some things that don't change with time. 20 years from now...

You should still strive to be interesting.
You should still strive to be clear.
You should still strive to be respectful.
You should still strive to be kind, compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded.
People will still appreciate music and it will still inspire us.
A V-chord will still sound nice when it resolves to a I-chord.
Spelling mistakes will still make you look like you don't know what you're talking about.
Being a parent will still be the hardest and most important job in our society.
We will still want to be accepted.
You will still fall for anything if you don't stand for something.

Maybe our job isn't so useless after all.

Jonathan posted at 2:33 PM - Comments (0)


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