Throughout the past 3 years as a student at the University of Texas College of Education, I have been taught many different
approaches to teaching, from a wide variety of teachers with years of experience in the field. Despite the theoretical appraoches
and years of experience at my disposal, the greatest teacher for me thus far has consistently been experience. The countless
hours I have spent in lecture halls and discussion groups are quickly overwhelmed by the small portion of time that I have
spent in actual classrooms.
Because experience has been my most effective
teacher, I hope to extend the same mentality to the classroom. By taking a constructivist approach to my classroom lessons,
I hope to scaffold my students building of their own experiences. I believe experience is the greatest educator and that the
greatest amount of experience comes from the greatest amount of exposure. I plan on bombarding my students with a wide variety
of real-life experiences that will promote life-long learning for my students. My students will be exposed to a variety of
texts, situations, and experiences that they will see in their real life experiences. By making strong semantic connections
to students home lives, I aim to create a functional bridge between the classroom and my students lives outside of school.
As I have been progressing through my development, I often find myself frustrated
by common problems and pitfalls present in most classrooms. One of the major concerns of mine is parental involvement. I understand
that situations can be difficult for families and being involved all the time is not practical in all situations, but I hope
to bridge the gap between home and school. In my mind, learning is an ongoing process that shouldn't end when the schoolbell
rings and the busses head home. I think open communication lines with my students' parents is essentail so that all parties
can be involved in the ongoing process of learning. In order to accomplish this, I plan on contacting parents as much as possible,
inviting them to participate in school activites, and encouraging an increased interest in schoolwork at home.
Another common problem that I have observed many teachers dealing with is the district-mandated
standardized tests. Many educators complain about having to "teach to the test" which not only puts pressure on the teachers
to meet goals, but puts pressure on students to perform to a certain standard. While I understand that standards are necessary
and essential for school districts, I also feel that many people put far too much emphasis on these tests. From my standpoint,
standardized tests require students to demonstrate their skills and abilities in a variety of different contexts, yet focus
on minimums of performance. I feel that if I provide my students with a variety of contexts and experiences, they will be
able to perform above and beyond the minimums required by the standardized tests.