The etymology of the word, Philosophy, means the, “love of wisdom.” Nothing comes quite as close to capturing the meaning of my teaching philosophy as this phrase. Love has placed a call upon my life to teach. Wisdom bids me remember those whose knowledge and work paved the road I now have the privilege to follow and in special moments create.
I teach in the Humanities to transform my life and especially the lives of my students. Without that transformative participation learning is significantly diminished and often lost. As a teacher I am most interested in facilitating learning experiences. Largely, that practice is about building conditions hospitable to learning.
Creating the conditions of learning, gaining the power of attention and the openness to explore new ideas requires continued, ongoing practice. In the classroom I learn with my students how to build curriculum suitable to their level of comprehension, focus, and ability. Mediating the timing and content of course lecture and trajectory, facilitating group work, mixed media and presentations are some of my central roles as a teacher.
My task as an educator in the Humanities is to facilitate balance wherever possible. The distance between individual attention – including special needs based learning – and the task of moving the class toward objective learning goals requires a delicate balance. Central to this balance is building a supportive learning environment without losing the power of rigorous, quality work.
There are few blanket prescriptions that I have found that suffice for every learning environment. Still, there are rubrics that help direct assessment. Student feedbacks, verbal critique, one on one advisement, regular level appropriate testing and quizzing are the foundations of classroom grading.
In special circumstances outside mediation and aid is incredibly helpful to a student. As a teacher I honor the porous boundaries between the classroom and the school and further, the individual and the social. What happens inside and outside the classroom affects learning.
Exercising the humility that I am always, already learning how to be a better teacher guides me toward improvement. For the sake of my calling as a professional educator I continue to learn and teach in service of those who have come before me and those students, who will come after me – this is the wisdom that I love so much.