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Teaching Philosophy

Everyone is an expert in education since everyone has been through the experience. Talk to anyone about his or her schooling experience, and you will find they will come up with many suggestions on how to teach, In a sense we are all experts in what we found effective.

My experience in K-12 was not pleasant and could be described as follows:

  • Boring because of no laning in any subjects. It was too easy for some students and too hard for others.
  • Discriminating because girls were discouraged from taking math and science
  • Unpleasant because the prevailing philosophy was that learning had to be work, not fun. If a student was having too much fun, they weren't learning.
  • Intimidating because it was ok to criticize and humiliate students.
  • Classes were formal in structure and students rarely interacted. They interacted with the textbook, the paper, and the teacher. The only peer interaction were activities like correcting each other's papers when the answers were read.
  • Students were rewarded for sitting quietly in rows, not interacting, and not doing anything out of the ordinary.
  • Education was not individualized.
  • Social interaction was confined to breaks and lunch. .
  • Punishment was seen as a way to teach students. For example, if a student was late, they were forced to write, "I will not be tardy" a hundred times or more.
  • Most teachers were emotionally distant.

My K-12 experience had a profound effect on my style. . I decided to teach the way I wish I had been taught. These are some of the principles I came up with that guide what I do in the classroom today.

  • Students must be allowed to interact on a regular basis because they learn from each other
  • Students learn more when they are having fun
  • Students need to be motivated and interested to achieve at high levels.
  • Encouragement, not ridicule, is the key to motivating students
  • Students are always given a second chance
  • Students can have an informal and spontaneous class discussion.
  • Students learn at different rates and learning must be individualized.
  • Students have different learning styles
  • Students must be treated with respect and dignity if you want them to have high self-esteem

The poem The Road of Life also had an impact on me.

I expect to pass
Through this world
But once. Any good
Therefore that I can
Do, or any kindness
That I show
To any fellow
Creature, let me do it now
For I shall not
Pass this way

I try to do this in the classroom everyday.

© 2002 - Esther Wojcicki - Email: thewoj@hotmail.com