My Goal as an Educator
Let’s imagine a scenario where I encounter a student after they graduate and the conversation somehow stumbles toward the topic of what they learned from taking my class. In this instance, let’s suppose they took an English class.
Maybe they’d thank me for teaching them how to properly write an essay, or for testing them on literary devices. Maybe they would appreciate how much we went over proper research techniques or that we didn’t just focus on literature but that we explored current topics – topics that they felt informed them of the world they were about to enter as adults. All of these things would be great but they’re not necessarily what I’m hoping to hear.
I’d love it if they said they learned how to be persuasive. From the experience of taking my class they’re not afraid to ask questions, whether it’d be to ask for help, to challenge their instructor or respectfully challenge authority. I want them to say they found out they’re creative, or even better, that they found new ways to be creative. I would hope they’d tell me that they learned new things about themselves as a result of taking my class. I’d also hope they not only felt this way about my class but from every class they took in the school.
The backbone of my approach is the philosophy that learning should be put in the hands of the students. The teacher acts as a course designer, guide, and motivator who enables the students to work within a space that encourages them to question, think, and explore.