My Teaching Philosophy

For my education class, we have to come up with our philosophy on teaching.

The thing is the more I learn about being an educator, the more emotional I get. Sometimes I feel like I can’t wait to be a teacher, and other times I feel terrified to stand in front of my own class. It’s a HUGE job! And in a week or so I’ll begin my field experience where I go into a class and (hopefully) get to experience teaching some high school students. Or grade papers. Either way, I’m excited to learn!

I now have to think about what KIND of teacher I’ll be. Some days I feel like I’ll be this teacher:

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Other days I’m all:

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I’m hoping I can pave the road to teaching heaven with good intentions because there’s nothing I love more or am more passionate about.

SO here’s my official (for now) teaching philosophy:

I do not like to limit learning to one type of learning in a classroom. I am more of a non- traditionalist. I want my students to know that learning is constantly taking place and that exchanging ideas and experiencing new things and learning from other people is part of being educated. I think it is important for the teacher to give clear expectations to students so that students can rise to the occasion and become self-sufficient learners. Teachers should use discussion often in the classroom to help expand students’ knowledge and also allow the students to form critical thinking skills. I believe teachers must make an effort to get to know their students as individuals and their classes as a whole so that they can tailor their lessons accordingly. In order to best reach students, a teacher must do their best to be knowledgeable about their subject area, teaching techniques, and new technology. It’s important to always be learning and evolving so that students can follow that example. Teachers should be flexible, caring, and knowledgeable. Ultimately my goal as a teacher is to develop independent students who care about their world, are curious, and are critical thinkers. 

I’d like to hear from you about what you think makes a good or bad teacher. Maybe you could share your memories of your favorite/ least favorite teachers?

Since You Asked… by Maurene Goo

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When Holly Kim, copyeditor for her high school newspaper, accidentally submits an article full of her honest opinions about her high school, she gets her own column instead of punishment. Holly rants and raves about what bothers her and tries to find balance between being known for speaking her mind, keeping her Korean family’s values, and trying to survive high school.

I had really high hopes for this book!

I thought the cover and title were cute. I loved the premise. Scholastic Inc. published it. It had all the great makings of a great read.

Yeah, not so much.

The characters were all, well, caricatures. They were all annoying and over the top. All of the dialogue felt forced or unnecessary. Holly Kim, the main character is barely likeable. The book reads like someone in middle school wrote it. I am honestly surprised it was published.

I kept reading, hoping it would get better, but it never did. I thought, when Holly got to write her own column, that I was in for some insightful or poignant observations about life in high school or being Korean-American. No. When she got a tip-off that the student government might be rigging the homecoming court election, I thought she would use journalism to expose her school’s underground politics. No. I thought there might be some swoon-worthy moments with her secret admirer. No. I thought that when Holly suffered through her Korean family’s unique Christmas traditions, she’d find value in family or her culture. No.

The plot lines are never developed.

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Goo tries too hard to be funny and tongue-in-cheek. From this book, I seriously doubt her chops as a writer, especially one in the YA genre.

Overall, I found the book a huge disappointment and a real struggle to read.

*Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Yet another book that had been sitting on my To Read shelf, Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children had me at the cover. I’m a huge horror movie fan and lover of the Tim Burton aesthetic so I was all game for this book.

 

The debut novel by American author Ransom Riggs (which, can we just agree is an awesome name) follows Jacob, a young boy, on his quest to discover truth within his grandfather’s fantastical stories about peculiar children that live in an orphanage in Europe.

 

I had low expectations for this novel because I always look for spooky books and get disappointed. It takes true delicacy to craft a story with a mixture of suspense, magic, and heart, but Riggs has done it. I adore this novel. The story is incredible because of its details and wonder. It reminds me of a mixture of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (both of which I loved as a kid) and X-Men First Class.

 

Riggs is, by trade, a filmmaker, and his storytelling reflects that. Each description is done with such precision that it becomes a movie in your mind. The pacing in this novel is excellent. It was an easy read and a fast one because I could not wait to finish it and uncover the mystery along with the main character. Riggs also released a book about the methods and ideas of Sherlock Holmes, and I think some of that information has found a home in the pages of this novel because its mystery is so perfectly done.

 

Film rights were sold to 20th Century Fox, and Jane Goldman (Kick Ass, X-Men: First Class, The Woman in Black) is set to adapt it to film, and Tim Burton is set to direct it. (How perfect are these choices?!) According to IMDB.com, the film is set to release in 2015.

 

It has an unexpected element in that the author includes pictures of the home and the people in it that are real photographs from private collections. Riggs has creatively incorporated them as photographic evidence that the children exist, tailoring his story to match the pictures. Apparently, he was only going to assemble a picture book before someone advised him to craft a story to match the photos.  I wonder if the film will include these great pictures because they’re so memorable!

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Here is a great little book trailer that perfectly captures the novel’s beginning.

 

 

As it is of the mystery genre, I don’t want to give away too much about the plot because half the fun of reading is discovering wonders along with Jacob as you move back and forth between time and reality.

 

Quirky, charming, eerie, and moving, this novel is a must-read for the young and old. Scholastic recommends it for grades 6-8 which I think is appropriate given the level of reading difficulty and the content which is just adult enough to interest young readers but not so adult that they are traumatized forever.  I don’t know if I would teach this book in the classroom just because I’m not sure it’s as academic as it is entertaining, but I would be open to the possibility just because I think this is such an engaging book for middle school readers.

 

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/miss-peregrines-home-peculiar-children

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