I strive for a day when the very act of putting down on paper your ideals of education is normal. I strive for a day when all teachers approach teaching as a art, as a reflective practice of growth. Crafting your own ideals and philosophies of education can be the first step in creating real and meaningful reform in the world. I strive for a day when teachers see themselves as philosophers and look within to find truth. I strive for a day when learning how to teach is not learned from textbooks and college courses, but an active practice of reflection and sharing of ones life.
When this day comes we must remember that having strong personal ideals is merely the a first step. They mean nothing if they remain on the page or inside your head. They must be put into practice, they must be alive and actively expanded on and continued to be redefined. They must be held onto like one hold on to sand, the tighter you hold on the easier they will fall. They must be allowed to fall if they do not work or are useful. They must be consistently assess for their pragmatic usefulness. They should be there to help you and your students grow and learn.
They should never be fought for with violence or anger. We must embody the power of these words, but let go of the authority or need to use them to change someones mind. Let you actions prove their usefulness and worth. Learn these words, remember them, but enter the classroom with new eyes every day for you never know what you might miss if your eyes are clouded by ideals. Do not let them be gimmicks. They are not tag-lines or designed for neat placement on a poster. They should not be followed blindly. They should become a way of life and your life will become the way of change and the real reform. The first step in being proactive in a revolution is to craft a personal creed.
Hopefully my words can spark a few of your own. Today I would like to offer my philosophy and creed in progress, these are words I hold dear. Thank you and please go forth and do as Casey said “Promote reform and Yourself without censorship”
Constructing My Own Meaning.
Teaching is the art of process and progress. As a teacher, I see my role as helping student to construction their own meaning of the world both as a living learning community and an individual. The elementary grades formed the foundation of this building of meaningful construction. During these important years of development my students and I will explore the world and the ways in which society currently and in the past have dealt with the process of constructing and communicating their meaning.
We will investigate and explore the excellence and genius that manifest itself in the multicultural disciplines of the world. We will ask questions about the essence of the disciplines and reflect upon our understanding of them. We will participate and uncover the holistic ways in which these disciplines have informed and given meaning to our world and ourselves.
We will be a democratic learning cooperative, who meet in a classroom, but understand that learning happens in all places and at all times.
We will understand that the process of learning is not linear, nor does it fit inside a box.
We will respect and trust the different ways in which each other learn.
We will look to primary sources for our knowledge and seek understanding over coverage.
We will trust and respect the understanding that comes from within ourselves.
We will not do busy work, all our work will have a purpose that moves us to expanded our learning potential. Our work will seek to solve problems and help both our local and global communities. Our work will be inquiry based and be generated by the questions that emerge from our initial inquiries.
All questions are valid and can be investigated by an individual or group.
The curriculum will allow for emergent inquiry of varying scope along with more in-depth and longer project based learning.
We will seek to construct new understandings of knowledge. We will look to the past, but understand we are in charge of finding new ways to approach and master the knowledge of the world.
We will have a interactive and supportive learning community where discourse, sharing of work and our ways of learning is the foundation of our curriculum.
We will assess our work by finding deeper meaning and complexities in the subtlety of life’s many questions. We will use assessments on a day to day basis. Assessment will help us to see where we are in our process of understanding, not to test rightness or wrongness. We will have a culture of quality, with the understanding that excellent work takes time and often many drafts and revisions. We will allow for the time needed to craft excellent work of quality.
We see ourselves as explorers, scientist, storytellers, philosophers, authors, artists, critics of language and life.
We know that we must strengthen and practice many different meta-cognitive abilities from abstract reasoning to dreaming to critical thinking.
We are doers not receivers.
We will look to the origins of the disciplines and theories and find the essence or questions that make them worth studying or learning. We will question how they fit into the future or current discourse of our world.
We will seek to find application for all the disciplines in our everyday life. We will ask how they can help us in the process of constructing meaning for both ourselves and the community.
We will find context, authenticity, and wholeness in the disciplines.
We will balance our needs to develop concrete skills and techniques with memory which we need for deep understanding.
Deep understanding will not be a extracurricular activity.
We will ask questions to clarify meaning.
I will delight in my students’ work.
There will be an atmosphere of joy and sharing of our work in our classroom.
We are not afraid of our errors. Nothing great was done on the first try. We know that every great idea has come from many ideas that never go anywhere.
We will always give it a go, no matter the outcome.
We will try new things and seek new challenges and risk.
We will reflect on our mistakes and try again.
We know the only limit to our greatness is our soul.
We will creativity add to the source of knowledge in the world.
We will think locally, but remember we are a part of a global community.
We will learn the necessities of life by actively doing them.
We understand the environment in which we learn teaches us as much as the book on the shelves.
Therefore both teacher and students will help to design our classroom as a living learning space.
It will be arranged to allow for flexibility, comfort and to fit our learning needs. The learning environment will reflect the flexibility in our curriculum and methods of learning
Our room will be both a place for learning the knowledge content of the disciplines, but also the social, emotional and spiritual content needed to be whole.
Our classroom will allow for informal and formal lessons. Our classroom will be open and allow movement of our body, but also our furniture and ideas.
Our classroom will be filled with our work both aesthetically and physically. We will furnish the classroom both for comfort and learning purposes.
Our classroom is furnished with materials found in real life, lamps and couches, folding tables and a stove for cooking. We have a light table for tracing and architectural drawings, a food dehydrator for projects and snacks. We will have a wall of windows and sky lights to let natural light into the room.
It will have plant life and animal life. It will be a reflection of our work and our life.
Our room will provide a stage for discussions and a variety of creative performances.
We will eat, cook, dance, paint, sing, think, write, reason, act, create, play, grow, learn and be in our room.
Our classroom will be a museum, a laboratory, a workshop, a studio, a home, and playground of thought.
Our classroom will be open to the local community and to the school community. The classroom will help with learning management.
The classroom is sea of activity and never not sterile- It is full of different types of learning environments and different ways to engage learning! Our classroom will be active and alive, it is full of spirit and life!
Where some see chaos, we will see joy and passion. Some hear noise, we hear discourse. Learning is not quiet, it is not neat. Learning takes time and can not or should not be fragmented into little segments of time.
Our days have rituals and celebrations. Our days are structure for learning and play.
In our classroom music fills the air, from learning and from the great masters of the art of sound. Our classroom is a culture of literacy. We strive to be visual literate, musically literate, artistically literate, and ecologically literate.
We will respect the power of print, of sound, of art, of story, of the earth, of nature, of knowledge, of inquiry, of reasoning, of logic, of the past, of the future, of care and of love.
We are a classroom of appreciation.
We work to make beautiful products, but understand that the process to get there is just as important. We must remember that the action of learning by doing is often more important then a product.
We understand there is a place in learning for practice and doing excises, but it will not be the only experience in the classroom.
I will remember to be a student of the world not just the teacher of students. I will seek out the masters and excellence in all fields and learn along with my students. I will use honesty and respect with my students and expect honesty and respect back.
I remember that choice is key.
I will share strategies and tools to create excellence work, but not dogmas to be recited.
We will remember learning is nonlinear, we will need different tools and strategies at different times.
We will not separate writing from art, art from math, math from science, science from reading, reading from dance, dance from play, play from writing. We will learn by doing. We will learning writing by being writers.
I will trust my students.
I am a problem solver, not just a teacher. My role as a problem solver is to listen to my children’s learning and help them solve their problems of learning. I help them find answers not just tell them the way I do it, but help find answers to the questions they have and problems in front of them.
I expect my students to surprise me everyday.
I am on a active adventure to discover the next great insight or marvelous new way of thinking and celebrate the triumph big or small of my students.
My job is to continue to help build environments and structures where the student can function, learn and grow by themselves.
I will continue to actively promote the formations of the right kind of education and life. I will promote the formations of teachers of change and learners of life.
I will do and I will be the be.