In order to be a successful teacher I think that it is imperative to have an understanding of what you believe in (in regards to education) and stick to these beliefs. These beliefs are the foundation of how you teach and ultimately whether or not you are a positive influence in your students’ academic life or a negative one. I think that the goal for all teachers is to obtain the former. Therefore, I decided that it is necessary to express my beliefs in respect to education here. First and foremost I believe that it is not the teacher's job to tell students about a specific concentration (in my case English) and expect the students to reiterate it back to them. Although rote memorization has to be a component to teaching it cannot be the sole practice we instill on students. Instead, teaching should be student centered; it should be searching for relevance and meaning behind a given concentration. This can be done by using a various amounts of instructional strategies, such as tiering ones lesson or altering the room in ways that helps student engagement both between students and the teacher as well as between students themselves. This brings to me to one of my biggest beliefs, that being assessment. I truly believe that assessment is the engine that allows teaching to go. I am a strong believer in assessment throughout all stages of the teaching process from prior to the start of a lesson to the very end. When I talk about assessment I mean it in a way that is not just giving a student a grade, but offering him or her useful, and thus relevant, written feedback that can help students become more successful. Assessment should also benefit the teacher as well. What I mean by that is that students offer assessment on the teacher so that he or she can become more successful at their profession. This doesn’t have to be the prototypical unit test or smaller quiz. Although summative assessment, like the unit test, is just one snapshot. Utilizing formative assessment ranging from exit tickets in class discussions homework pre-tests allows teachers to tailor their lessons by using instructional strategies that are a reflection of the assessment.
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© Fred Merritt
Last Updated December 16, 2010