Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Philosophy of Education

In an attempt to formulate a teaching philosophy, I merely compared how my late father and my mother taught us, and I decided to coin one I call “Holistic Teaching”. They taught me as teachers and as parents. After my father’s death, my mother taught us as fatherless children, so education continued from school to the community. With that flashback, I felt that the conventional method was too focused on the child as merely a student while the holistic philosophy will consider the child as a member of a community who needs motivation to accomplish his goals. In the former, curriculum ended after school; whereas, the latter harnessed the curriculum with social competence and social problem solving beyond school setting. This philosophy is the manifestation of my personal values in dealing with the standards, curriculum content, instruction, classroom management and interaction with students, parents and community. The apogee of this philosophy came when two students, despite their English Language Learner’s (ELL) status outperformed their counterparts with English as their first language in their graduation tests, leading to their induction into the National Honor Society (NHS). By so doing, they became the first Hispanics to be inducted from that Title 1 School. 
Consequently, every teacher should have standards that serve as goals that they suppose to attain with their students. People learn and work better if they have a worthy goal, if they can correlate the goal and the material acquired, and if they can measure their achievements in relation to the curriculum.
Every curriculum should be a synthesis of fact and fancy, embedded with streetwise knowledge that simultaneously underscores a dichotomy and reconciliation between realism and idealism, or fantasy and reality, and it should also show a strong marriage with extracurricular activities. That is the reason I coach and mentor in addition to my teaching. I want every child to leave the school with a skill or a vocation. It is my belief that compulsory interscholastic activities and a modicum of vocational training be integrated into every child’s life for health and survival.
As a result, students should be motivated into well designed compulsory community based vocational trainings that match their abilities and proclivities. This will provide the students with survival skills sets to help them integrate the society upon graduation. It will also help them to stay healthy as they use their exercise knowledge to keep their bodies to stay in shape.
Motivation, technology and storytelling should be the bedrocks for the different strategies and learning styles during instruction delivery because they build self-confidence and create a willing tapestry for classroom participation (which is an essential element in knowledge acquisition). These enhancers whet their appetite for the next class and reduce the dropout rate.
Understanding that there are different types of learners: kinesthetic, tactual, auditory and visual and also different categories: ELL, disabled and gifted, I always employ a balanced variety of teaching and assessment strategies during my lessons. I start each academic year or each time a new student comes in with diagnostic tests to assess student’s levels, so I can tailor-make my lesson plans and instruction delivery.
To ascertain mastery of knowledge, I introduce assessments. While standardized tests are important, I still believe that they are insufficient as a main determinant of a student's mastery of knowledge. I prefer that students are evaluated and assessed through multiple intelligence because there are a kaleidoscope of intelligences: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist and autonomous. That is why, although standardized testing is not all that bad, it is still insufficient!
Classroom management and discipline would vary in its application and intended consequences, even if two students committed the same offense. In some cases, I allow time to make a decision, others I predict their responses, but I adjust the rules with some. This method secures both positive and negative consequences, creates a balance and devises a plan of options at the appropriate time. As a result, I have experienced very little behavior problems in my teaching days.
I also believe that the teacher or school administrator is a lifelong learner. Consequently, attending conferences and numerous Teach Abroad programs have imbued me with great diversity that harnesses my interaction with parents, students, staff and the public from different cultures to facilitate a conducive learning environment that enhances growth too. Therefore, I am excited to be a teacher, so I can continue the tradition of being a father to the fatherless or a father to students with absentee parents.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (I Cor 15:19). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Hamilton Ayuk. Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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