Throughout my nearly four decades as an educator, my teaching philosophy has always placed students at the forefront. Reflecting on the teachers and professors who profoundly impacted me as a student, I sought to emulate their magic. They created enjoyable, exciting, and engaging classes that challenged me to think critically and invest time in producing work that reflected my passion for learning and growth.
As an educator and at times an administrator, I have mentored numerous young or student teachers, evaluated their performance, and shared my guiding philosophy as they honed their skills. Continuously, I have evaluated myself to ensure that I embody the principles I hold dear.
My 'student first' teaching philosophy rests on five pillars:
1. Building trust and respect: Ensuring that students know I am on their side and here to help them learn important concepts. 2. Priming interest: Introducing new topics or expanding on previous ones with relevant and even humorous stories to foster engagement and discussion. 3. Encouraging student participation: Validating their thoughts, questions, and concerns, allowing students to confidently contribute to their academic growth. 4. Flexibility: Recognizing students' lives outside of school and understanding that unforeseen circumstances may affect their time and commitments. Being empathetic and demonstrating a willingness to help. 5. Expertise and connection: Transferring knowledge goes beyond being a content expert; it involves listening to students, understanding their interests, and nurturing a sense of safety and belonging. Injecting passion and curiosity into the subject matter sparks a lifelong passion for learning.
“This is a great class. Michael is a good teacher and makes the material interesting.”
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