Taylor and Breck
English Objectives: As an English teacher, I have several objectives. My primary goals in terms of language are for my students to develop the skills necessary to (1) think and analyze critically and (2) become excellent writers. Discussions such as the fishbowl promote critical thinking. I can also help students master critical analysis through examinations of a range of texts including fiction, nonfictions, short stories, novels, media, etc. Practice is the best method to improve writing. On-demand writing though is rarely a good measure of a student’s abilities as a writer. Instead, I will identify a student’s specific writing weaknesses (e.g. use of passive voice, formatting, style, comma use, etc.) throughout the term. As the course progresses, I will hold students accountable for correcting and avoiding those mistakes. This allows me to focus on a student’s specific areas of improvement. Both of my English objectives work cohesively. As a student learns to examine language critically, he or she learns how to articulate his or her own thoughts on paper.
Life Objectives: Education is no longer simply about content. I will build relationships with my students to motivate and challenge them. I want students to leave my classroom with skills that go beyond the textbook. A student should leave my classroom with the skills to communicate effectively and maintain strong relationships with their family and peers. As a teacher,I want all of my students to understand that they may come to me for help at anytime. I firmly believe that one can only be an effective teacher when one has a strong relationship with his or her students. Today, students see teachers not only as an instructor but also as a leader, a guide, and a source of motivation. I want to be all of those things as a teacher. My philosophy of teaching is quite simple: build trust with the student, give the student a glimpse of his or her full potential, and let the student grow.
As a high school student, I used to think the teacher’s goal was to teach. Now that I am on the other side of the system as an educator, I see the goal of an effective teacher is to encourage student learning. I believe my goal is to get student from one school of thought to another, from A to B. Now, any decent teacher can get a student to understand A and B. An excellent teacher though will give the student the tools to get from A to B and allow the student to make the journey him- or herself. That is the mark of a truly incredible teacher. In this sense, the teacher merely facilitates activates that work as catalysts to get students from A to B.
I remember seeing this video when I began observing last spring at Dunbar High School in Lexington. Taylor Mali is an American poet and humorist (Wikipedia). This video denounces many myths surrounding why teachers teach and what they “make.”
The photo to the left is of a gift I received from the students I observed through my EDC 362 class in the spring of 2012. The students found out that my 21st birthday was coming up and wanted to wish me a happy birthday. I walked into class one day and one of my favorite students handed me the paper they had made for me.
It probably only took a few minutes to make, but the gift was the best surprise of the year. It was simple but special. The birthday gift was inspirational – it illustrated that the students cared about me, just as I cared about them. The object of teaching should not be to plant facts for regurgitation on a later assessment. Rather, I believe a teacher should inspire students. Teachers must motivate students to question everything. That is to say, if the teacher asks a student to identify motifs in a novel, the student should ask why the author used that motif or what theme the motif yields. It is not the teacher’s job to cram knowledge into a student and let it sit there. The teacher must help the student expand that knowledge.
My beliefs on teaching have developed not only from observing in the classroom but also through my work as a leader on retreats for my alma mater. The photo to the left was taken after one such retreat. My inspiration to become a teacher comes from leading these retreats. Nearly 95% of seniors at Trinity High school in Louisville will attend a senior retreat before they graduate.
Trinity High School and my experiences through my EDC 362 inspired my beliefs in teaching. An exemplary teacher builds relationship with the students and uses the materials in class to engage students in conversation and instruction. My dream job is to be that exemplary teacher.
I grew up on the far edge of eastern Louisville in a little town called Pewee Valley. When I came to UK, I still had that small town feel – you can’t walk through this beautiful campus without seeing someone you know. Not only that, but I am also part of the greatest college town in the country. Period. And, you know what?
I love it.
Let me talk about a couple unique things in Lexington. Triangle Park, a park located in the heart of downtown is currently home to an outdoor ice skating rink. And you don’t need a car to get there! If you live in North Neighborhood, you are just a fifteen minute walk from Triangle Park.
This past spring, I walked through downtown Lexington during the Art Gallery Hop with two friends of mine, Brian and Luke. The Hop takes place a handful of times each year. We had the opportunity to walk through dozens of open, free art galleries and talk to many of the artists, all while wearing sport coats and acting like we knew more about art than we did.
Outside of downtown Lexington, there is even more to do. This fall a few of my co-workers and I took a trip to Boyd Orchards where we picked a few pumpkins, walked through dozens of rows of apple trees, and ate the freshest, most incredible apple pie you will ever taste.
Lexington is a city, yes, but it is so much more. Lexington is art gallery hops and free outdoor concerts. Lexington is downtown fountains and outdoor ice skating rinks. Lexington is basketball and UK. Lexington is horse parks and acres of bluegrass. Lexington is everything big city and everything small town.