"I hope they learn to think for themselves and explore the exciting unfamiliar horizons."
"I hope I reach all my students."
"I must attempt to uncover the individuality and creativity of each student."
"I want my students to develop deep roots of knowledge."
"I want them to have a firm grasp on the knowledge that I help them to understand and use it later in life."
I wrote these statements four years ago in college! Many of those comments are ones that I still believe in; some are what I view now after Ive taught to be unrealistic. As I challenge my students, unknowingly, they challenge me to improve my teaching and try to reach those kids who on the first day of class say, "I dont like English, never have, so what are you going to do?"
Over time, my philosophy has changed. We, teachers, all love those bright, dedicated students who do all the extras for a little higher A; theyre great and sugar coat the job. Personally, Ive learned to love the kids with an attitude. As a teacher, I want those kids who "hate English" to find something semi-"cool" in my class, or I want them to open up and actually raise their hands without my force to answer or discuss. Who ever thought kids would want to do this.
I feel that kids dont have to love your class, they dont have to get an A, or even pass sometimes, but you do have to reach them somehow. Draw them in with interesting assignments, meaningful stories, a "decent" novel if there is such a thing. Have fun, have energy, and fool them into wanting to come to English.
Through teaching, Ive changed a lot. Ive taken off the rose-colored glasses and have been in the classroom now. Some will never learn how to spell, never know what a pronoun is, but getting them into something that they want to do and work hard at completing is the greater challenge. They will gain everything by turning in something that they have ownership in; something that theyre proud of.
"The teachers I remember best were the ones who cared about what I was doing, who smiled, laughed, and were off the wall during class, and who encouraged me to learn and strive for even more."