an old teaching portfolio.

designed/created in 1998-99.

What I Want To Do: My Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy comes from various pieces of four main entities found in educational psychology books that I have read. These ideas come from individualism, existentialism. social reconstructionism and the enormous dimensions of imagination. When these entities are compiled together they produce what I consider the ideal teacher for the 21st century. I feel every student should be a creative individual using their vast reading vocabulary and excellent writing skills, provided by English classes including mine, to learn more about the world and be able to communicate effectively also. I want them to: come closer to self- actualization, know they can better society, and become knowledgeable and open-minded citizens.

I find it easier to understand each student by separating them from the whole which is why individualism is a big part of my philosophy. I want my lessons to accentuate this by providing various paths to doing a project. This will enable my students to shine at whatever they do best. Some students are more visual, hands-on, or maybe like to work alone and this will push them to their best potential rather than have them struggle with some learning style that they have always found to not work for them. Each path will not correspond to every style in the world, but will add variety to the daily routine the students have and also add exquisite ideas for lessons to come. Individualism says that everyone is unique and I strongly agree and do not want to produce cookie-cutter people memorizing facts for curriculum’s sake.

Existentialism is individual thinking about my life, what has meaning for me, what is true for me. It emphasizes creative choice, the subjectivity of human experiences and concrete acts of human existence over any rational scheme for human nature or reality. Existentialism begs for students to find out who they are. This concept also wants them to question authority and commit meaning to their lives. I feel, then, that teachers must allow students freedom of choice and provide them with experiences that will help them find them meaning of their lives. As an English teacher, my students and I can take morals and values from our stories and think of how we can use them or how they don’t work for us. Within the writing assignments I can ask them their outlooks on our society, what they feel they could change- which slides my philosophy into social reconstructionism also.

I have added social reconstructionism to my philosophy because I feel that not only do I want my students to become knowledgeable and well- rounded with the activities and classes within school, but I also want to prepare them for what lies ahead in our society. To be able to communicate with others is a very powerful asset in this world. If I cover different cultures and concepts they have not heard of yet, when they get out into life they will be more open to those races and ideas. Students that are shown new insights into life at young ages are usually more accepting and find it easier to assimilate with new changes brought about in their lifetimes.

My imagination is quite deep and large and I find it to be one of my greatest non- physical assets. An imagination is extremely useful in any job setting and when dealing with most any situation. Teaching is an art. It is mostly acting and trying to take what you know and put it into a way of communication that is able to be understood by various students. Flexibility is a part of this art. If my students want to change my “uncool” agenda for the week, I am open to it within reason. When students have the “want to” to do a project, they usually do it better and with more enjoyment. Where else then through reading can you travel and dream and imagine all at once. Reading is an escape from reality and a devourement in the concepts of the morals that evolve.

Given these four characteristics and close to the most extensive knowledge of English and Literature I can possibly endow to them, I hope to incorporate excellent social skills and build the student affectively (their heart), cognitively (their head), and creatively (their hands). Through my teaching of my subject and the experiences they will attain by just being in my classroom, I will mold students that will engage in this world responsibly, honestly, and creatively.




Teaching Ideas:(aimed at grades 9-12 of high school)

-Of all the types of papers (Narrative, Descriptive,Persuasive, Research, and Creative) have them choose three within the year and write on them. At least 2 pages long.
-Have them write from another point of view. Describe themselves in third person.
-Mark Twain lesson- come up with a pen name.
-Collage of Words lesson- this collage should reflect themselves.
-With vocab words-use them in sentences.
-Small essays on crazy questions.
-Find Lyrics-make a poem out of them
-For the first day, do your name backwards and also a quiz on my shoe size, birthday, age, fav.color, etc and have them put theirs on there too.
-Genie Idea- persuasive paper on receiving 3 wishes. “Persuade me to grant your wishes. four reasons for each”
-Have them pick a word and develop a whole story from that one word.
-The first two people to volunteer to answer a question, etc- they can bring a cd to listen to the next day.
- Personification- have them do a creative writing story giving an animal human features, talking- “What would it say?”
- Let them use any readable font on the computer (12-14)
-Have them write a story and cut it up- make a poem
- Have a bulletin board of words, each day a different student adds his/her word.
-Make a noise with your mouth and name five things that that sound could be.
-Give options that will constitute an A grade or lesser assignments that will get you possibly a C.
-For role call have them say “Boom” instead of here.
-Use the Image Idea from Gill. A circle with ME in the middle of it and arms branching
out into verbs, nouns, and adjectives, etc that describe you- make a poem that way
-Extra credit for bringing in additional info found on the net, newspapers, magazines dealing with our current topic.
-Culture cookouts.
- Everyday ask them if they can tell me some bit of knowledge that I don’t know. (Learn Something NEW Everyday.)
-Everyday I’ll have different last name and I ‘ll give them clues- extra points for the one that figures them out.
- Question for the kids: If all the thoughts you have in your mind throughout your life, etc, were the size of a paperclip/stone, would you or could you fill this whole room?
- The idea of codes: Have the students write an essay to different levels of people: their parents, siblings, principal, someone who just came to the US.
- Have a discussion on: “Is English a superior language OR is it simply because more people speak it?”----”Is Football the superior sport OR is it seemingly superior simple because more people watch it?”




lessons on life:

1. Courage is the best virtue.
2. When people show you who they are- believe them.
3. do not bestow upon your children the bad things that happened to you as a child.
4. if you use the same behaviors you will get the same results.
5. At the moment of judgment at the end of your life you will feel every emotion you have ever made anyone feel.
6. A person who doesn’t hear "no" is trying to control you.
7. do you want to be right, or do you want to have peace?
8. love is a verb.
9. love is not a feeling, it is a behavior.
10. women and men communicate differently.
11. when you decide- everything will follow.
12. children are little people. Adults are children with more life experiences.
13. Say- “i love you.”
14. the duty of parents by god’s law is to raise better people for the planet.
15. if you aim and nothing you will always hit it.
16. we are here on earth to learn not to just be happy.
17. figure out what is more important in your life before you make any goals.
18. people are stupid.
19. follow your gut instinct.
20. to thine own self be true.(did Shakespeare say this or Aristotle?)


Mr. Wall

As soon as you mentioned that we needed to interview a teacher in our field- I immediately thought of where I first got my inspiration to be a writer much less a teacher. Mr. Wall was my senior English teacher in highschool and he was the one who started all of this thought of teaching in my head. He is a great teacher simply because he produces such a great knowledge in all of his students of what he knows and he makes you want to learn more and write about it as much as possible.

He teaches at Wahpeton Senior High and has been there 20 years of his 24 years of total teaching. He basically teaches senior English, but also has a journalism class that produces our school newspaper every month.

I traveled down to see him personally and to see other teachers whom I still admired and he and I sat down to talk. I already knew or assumed what some of his responses would be but it was interesting to hear how he actually felt. Teaching is extremely rewarding to him because he gets to deal with the “best” part of society- he said, “ Lawyers work with scum, Doctors with the sick, and I get the young people.” He likes that fact. Another thing that he really enjoys about it is the closure it has- come May 25th or so he is DONE. And he gets to start all over again in the fall or gets two weeks to himself before summer school.

Unfortunately there are a few down sides. Coming more and more into the technology of the 21st century, he and other teachers have to deal with more meetings and more preparation for different ideas and occurrences within society itself. He mentioned the constant work he has and how he can never get to every student, which bothers him. He did say, though, that he wouldn’t trade it for anything even thought he has been given other , more financially stable, offers, he’ll stay with teaching until he retires in 3 to 4 years.

As far as gender discrimination, he sees none as in getting a job between a man or woman. And his final advice for me was to get into computers simply because its the “wave” of the future.

I am really glad we had to do this. Talking to Mr. Wall did not decrease my hopes for the end of my education- in fact it raised them. He said he’d gladly set up an internship or job down there for me and knows I will be a great teacher.