“Teachers, like their students, have to learn to love the questions, as they come to realize there can be no final agreement or answers…” – Maxine Greene, Dialectic of Freedom
As a teacher, I have the unique opportunity to interact with a great number of students from a variety of personal backgrounds and experiences. Each student brings with them a unique perspective and rationale to their learning, and it is my role as a teacher to encourage students to use their imaginations in the process of learning. I recognize the importance of equity and inclusion while teaching and acknowledge the social and emotional needs of my students. It is important to keep questions alive through discussion and to continually learn from my students to better adapt my instructional approaches. My approach to teaching is to meet students where they are and to then integrate lessons and experiences to cultivate a richer understanding of their natural and cultural communities.
In order to address the social and emotional needs of each individual student, I use a variety of teaching strategies that I have found through my study of progressive approaches to education. I believe every student is capable of expanding their perspectives and charting new paths in their understanding. This can be done through my varied instruction, activities and by maintaining a “guide on the side” approach to my teaching. Every student deserves to be heard and encouraged to be critical and imaginative thinkers!
I make an effort to listen to my students as a way of being a more responsive teacher. I plan lessons to be engaging and recognize the importance of tracking what topics the students are naturally drawn to. To do so, I approach teaching with inclusive discussions in mind. During discussions I listen to what contributions are being made and if there are students being left out. Furthermore, students learn the most when they are just outside of their comfort zone and able to take risks. It is important that I cultivate an inclusive environment in which students can speak up and take risks in order to stretch their thinking.
I am continuously trying out new ways to integrate the arts into my lessons, to build stronger connections to existing ideas and concepts. It’s important that I build upon my own understandings and connections to make material relevant and engaging for students, and to love the process of inquiry myself. Learning should be both fun and imaginative process for all of those involved. My approach to teaching is constantly evolving as I learn to take risks and incorporate new teaching strategies in my work.