My personal philosophy of teaching is that it needs to be student-centered, not teacher centered. The focus should always remain on the individual needs of the students and involving the students in the process of their learning. I believe that all student have strengths. Part of the goal of any education should be building on those strengths. Helping students identify their own strengths which then become the foundation of their own learning and personal growth. We come into the classroom with an agenda that may need to be communicated to our students, but any curriculum is best presented by involving students, having them share their experiences and knowledge, promoting questions that fuel the learning process.
Our own personal philosophies are shaped by the experiences from our own lives, education and the interaction we have with other people. The exchange we share with others and the influence that has had on us shapes who we are. I feel that teaching could be best served following that same model. The interaction between instructor and students that can be promoted in the classroom is vital in the learning process.
In my work as a therapist I learned the most effective way for others to listen was to involve them in the conversation by giving opportunities to participate and share their own understanding of a given topic. This in turn gave me the opportunity to learn from their experience which allowed a more mutual platform for both of us. I see my personal approach to teaching following that same model.
Teaching should provide for us as educators the opportunity to affirm our own passion about the subjects we teach. If we as teachers don’t enjoy ourselves while sharing our passion, the students will not benefit from our efforts. Before we can inspire we must feel inspired ourselves. We all remember those teachers in our lives that moved us by their own enthusiasm and passion which made us want to learn and participate in the leaning process. If we lose that passion and enthusiasm about teaching we become mechanical and repetitive. How could we expect any student to learn if we ourselves, given the choice, would not want to be in that same classroom? I see teaching as not only a privilege, but the opportunity to keep learning and enlightening our own lives.
As William Butler Yeats once said, “Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire”. This should apply both for the teacher as well as the student.