The most common and dreaded question almost every child has been asked at one point, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a child, I was surrounded by numerous teachers I looked up to. I answered without any hesitation, “I want to be a teacher!” as if I had it all figured out. I grew up watching my favorite teachers.
My favorite teachers helped me form my identity, helped me reach my fullest potential. This class helped me form my own philosophy of education, my own reasoning for the purpose of education, and that is every student should be able to learn to their fullest potential for a successful future. I view the fulfillment of potential is taking a step further, instead of looking at it as an ultimate destination. Students should be able to grow and develop as individuals, socially, emotionally and physically to reach their fullest potential. In The Montessori Method, Maria Montessori believed the goal of education is “to be able to find activities that are so intrinsically meaningful that we want to throw ourselves into them.” (Montessori 14) Students should be able to discover who they are through exploring who has come before them. I personally believe education is the advancement of knowledge by only to use useful strategies in learning to mold the future generation. As mentioned earlier, a Montessori Method in a classroom whether in public or private schools is viewed as a “prepared environment,” where students are able to adapt and learn at their own pace.
“Students are assigned their own personal workstations designed with educational items that correspond to the daily lesson plans and activities.” (Montessori 3) This not only allows students to naturally grow as individuals, but it’s also beneficial to give them a progressive approach in understanding what they are capable of doing such as critical thinking or being social their surroundings. As an early childhood education major, this captured my personal beliefs of how I would like to see students be educated in comparison to traditional methods of education.
I believe it’s all about experiencing personal growth, but with the support system of educators. Teachers play a huge role in the child’s life, being the gatekeepers of a student’s knowledge. These gatekeepers need to understand their students, teachers should help children form social bonds. Let children work with one another while solving problems, and do more hands on work activities. (Montessori) This helps children improve their social and physical skills in a healthy learning environment. I personally love to watch children learn and grow instead of conforming to societal values and ideas, I find it better to let students gain knowledge through personal hands on experience.
Even though the Montessori Method was not widely agreed upon due to the “lack of standardized concepts and training methods,”(Montessori 4) and being neglected by scholars, I did not let this discourage my belief on education. One cannot just simply give up when some teaching strategies, methods, or curriculums don’t work for some students. A teacher should prevail and push forward and give students the opportunity to become successful by finding something that could work for that individual.
Education in its general form is something you can keep for a lifetime. But I believe it is interpreted by how much you had acquired from the experience. Students will learn more effectively and to their fullest potential if they have something to look forward to or especially when it is meaningful and interesting to them.
As said by Geneva Gay, in Preparing for Culturally Responsive Teaching, this includes “using cultural characteristics, experiences and perspectives of ethnically diverse students as conduits for teaching.” (Gay’s 106) This is defined as culturally responsive teaching. Shedding light on the importance of culture gives off the opportunity to tie a knot on these different aspects to acknowledging cultural diversity among students and those who are minorities. I believe no student should feel excluded or feel as if they are in a place where they do not belong, but to feel a connection within society. As for me, originally, I did not think of including this in a curriculum, but now it helped developed my philosophy of education and belief on being a teacher. This challenged me to think deeper and become more open minded in incorporating students cultures and backgrounds into lesson plans while they are still exploring.Although my philosophy is educating students to their fullest potential for success in society, the American school system has not been so perfect as it ship shaped over the years, making me think that there’s no real goal targeting education. In the article, Hijacked.
How the standard movement turned into the testing movement, the American education has become testing, accountability and choice. This has dominated the values of our students and their capabilities, as the approach with the federal law of the No Child Left Behind at in 2002. The NCLB helped stabilize the testing movement, as it ignored standards and curriculum such as “knowledge of history, science, literature, geography, the arts, and other subjects that were not important for accountability purposes.” (Ravitch 30) On the other hand, the A Nation At Risk, a report, made recommendations to “make our schools function better in their core mission as academic institutions and to make our education system live up to our nation’s ideals.” (Ravitch 25) Students are being cheated and treated unfairly as the NCLB act affects students learning by isolating them from subjects, which I perceived important to help flourish their knowledge.
This has challenged my own belief of education, I wholeheartedly oppose the testing movement. It limits the student’s ability to gain a well rounded knowledge, and also treats students as a product. Education on testing should not be the only tool in determining the student’s progress. Throughout the course, I had rediscovered myself in ways I did not know were possible.
This includes forming a foundation for my views on education, race, and society as a whole. It helped me develop my beliefs and made me want to become an educator even more. Of course, I can’t help asking myself, “How am I going to manage a classroom? Will I be able to give it my all?”. I envisioned my toughest challenge is not having the capabilities of other educators.
Not having the teaching abilities or effectiveness to prepare my students for the next step in their life. Whether it be race, age, ethnic groups, economic class or hardships, I hope I am able to give my students a classroom in which they feel safe and at home, a classroom in which they can be themselves and grow all while learning together. Hopefully one day, I will reach a point in my life where I feel well prepared, where I feel as if I am prepared enough to make a positive difference in a child’s life.