When I sat down to write about what my personal philosophy for the classroom might look like, I kept going back to my classroom rules we created earlier this semester. I want my classroom to be based on respect– respect for others, respect for one’s self, and respect for the learning process. I also want my classroom to be a place where my students feel safe to be who they are, share their ideas, and explore.
One thing I have learned from my mentor teacher is that students will not show you respect if you do not show respect for them. When a student makes a mistake, plagiarizes a paper, makes a mean comment, it is important to address the issue immediately and privately. Public peer humiliation will not gain you any fans!
I also want my classroom to be a place where my students make choices. The real world is full of choices– what clothes to wear, what job to interview for, when to have a family, whether or not to go to college, how to pay for post-secondary education… I want my students to assume responsibility for their own lives by making choices within the safety net of the classroom. From picking out which project to create to deciding how many vocab words to memorize each week (out of a year-long list of required words), I want my students to understand what it means to control their own destinies.