Teaching is important because it allows me the opportunity to provide a positive influence in the lives of students. I enjoy the challenge of teaching mathematics by applying logic and reasoning, and then showing students how this will relate to their lives in the future.
The most important teaching belief that I hold is that all students can learn. They may learn at different speeds or in different ways, but they can learn mathematics. Every year when new students enter my class one will always tell me, "I can't do math", and I accept this as a challenge. The students that say this usually have been demoralized in previous math classes. It is my job as an educator to find a way to teach mathematics in a way that will relate to each individual student. This will provide some familiarity and build confidence in students accounts of the information.
Another important aspect of teaching is that learning needs to make sense. If the students in a classroom cannot understand how the content will benefit them outside the classroom the students are less likely to remember the material once the course is over.
The goals that I place on my students are not only to teach the subject matter of the course. I also want to show students how to think logically, develop problem solving skills and find way to apply those skills to life decisions. I want students to be able to process information and create a step by step plan to find the best solution. If developed properly, this is a skill that a student will use daily for the rest of their life.
The instructional strategies used to obtain this goal must be flexible. I use multi-step real world scenarios when possible to have students develop problem solving skills. I use open-ended group projects to add an additional layer of problem solving. I apply Bloom's Taxonomy to my questioning during classroom discussions as well as assessments to reach the highest level of learning possible. This is an effective tool because students not only have to develop a solution but also explain and defend it to their peers to complete the projects.
I utilize open-ended problem based questions on most of my assessments. These items will require students to not only correctly answer the questions, but also use high learning skills to explain how they found the solution and why it is acceptable to the problem.
I believe that honesty is one of the most important aspects to building a positive relationship with students, families, and colleagues. Without trust, you cannot have respect. I want everyone to know that when I say something, I believe that it is true. Trust has been vital to my success as a teacher. If a student's doesn't trust you they will not respect what you have to teach. If a parent does not trust me, they will not believe my criticism of their students work. Collaboration with fellow faculty is also important to deliver a well rounded education to students. Keeping a professional working relationship with colleagues allows us to coordinate our lessons to make the units cross over into all subjects in order to immerse the students into the material.