articulate and defend your own vision of good teaching

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Final Essay

Philosophy of Teaching – Please be advised that this is one of the key assessments in your course of study. You will need to keep all the drafts of this paper for your fifth year Master’s seminar. Philosophy of Teaching is a 5-7 page synthesis/final paper submitted at the conclusion of the term. In this essay, you articulate and defend your own vision of good teaching. Reflect on the following questions: What makes a good teacher? What makes/ will make me a good teacher? There are many ways to go about writing this essay. a). you could reflect on all the teachers/educators and other people who inspired you to become a teacher, discuss what made them so powerful for you and describe how you plan to make their lessons a reality or expand them further in your unique style; b). you could discuss what is unique and special about you (personality traits, values, life experiences, etc.) and how this will translate into your vision of good teaching; c). you could engage in a discussion with one of the philosophers of education that inspires you and describe your views on good teaching as compared to those of this philosopher; d). you could continue to build on your midterm in articulating your philosophy of teaching, and finally, e). there is your own unique and creative way of composing this essay. Whichever form you choose, you should integrate our class readings, discussions and videos into the essay to help support your views, be it as that which can help you build and articulate your vision, or as that from which your vision diverges. The philosophy of teaching essay is not just an opinion piece, but must be supported by our readings and (if you want), videos. In the essay, you should articulate a clear and more than a brief understanding of the texts you use to support your views. At least three class texts should be used to help develop and support your philosophy of teaching. (This essay is also distinct from the schooling autobiography you may have written for Community, Schools and Society. This final reflective composition is required in lieu of a final exam, and represents the culmination of the course. Your participation and completion of all the course assignments, as well as feedback from the instructor, will assist you in directing your thoughts toward this culminating personal statement. The grading of written work will focus on content (substantial & original thought, well-supported argument), but also requires that you attend academically and professionally to form (organization & coherent, cohesive structure), written expression (grammar, punctuation & mechanics – Proof your work!) and presentation (12-point Times New Roman font double-spaced and visually appealing). Try to develop your own unique view and demonstrate your ability to engage the topic critically. Draw thoughtfully upon sources to support your vision, and use a legitimate system of citation (Chicago Manual of Style, MLA format, or APA), providing quotes, footnotes and references as appropriate. You will be asked to submit a draft of your work before you submit your final draft. Please consult the course outline for due dates. In addition, please consult the evaluation rubric attached to this syllabus as you proceed with your writing.


As a child I always was able to scope out my favorite teachers. The ones that instilled in me the desire to learn and grow from them all had the same quality. They yearned to understand me, show me patience, and empathy. It didn’t matter whether or not I liked the subject or my classmates I looked to my teacher and they made me feel ready to absorb knowledge. You never know why that one kid is sleeping in class, seeking negative reactions, refusing homework or help. Those teachers that got down to my level and used their love and tolerance to help me ultimately fulfilled my deepest need; to be understood. I instantly respected them and wanted to be that teacher for others. Fast forward to now I find understanding, empathy, and respect to be the pillars of my philosophy of teaching and Emotional and Social Learning to be my foundation. In the words of Aristotle “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”.

Confidence is one of the most important qualities a student needs to succeed. Icebreakers and fun activities such as a small hike, or freeze dance bring your students together and makes the feel comfortable. This is where building their confidence begins. It’s not an easy job to be an amazing influential teacher. You find sometimes teachers turn to the kids that best serve their current lesson, this is because it’s easy. How does that breed of teacher ensure he’s reaching all his students. This is why using these methods of fun communal activities can help you get your whole class excited about the topic.

Eliciting is a powerful tool, in nurturing confidence in your student along with positive reinforcement. Allowing them to arrive at the answer themselves by guiding them rather than posing a simple question that has one right or wrong answer, and on to the next student. I want my lessons to have my student on their feet and interacting. Instead of a lecture throw in a game of charades, use a cooking lesson, create a game where they have to work together and listen to each other.

Journaling with your students is so powerful. Taking on more of The Facilitator Approach this helps harbor your awareness of your students. You can give them topics they are excited about, and give them a confidential outlet to open up to you, and for you to respond. I plan to use this in my future profession. Make a whole lesson about how valuable it can be to put your thoughts on paper, decorate a personal journal and express yourself. I plan to do it in more of a letter format between teacher and student. This way there’s a dialogue. Give them extra credit for going the extra mile to make this book a part of their development. This will lead them to self discovery through their dialogue with me.

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