It has been difficult to write this section of my portfolio not because I do not have one but because the teaching philosophy I do have is not as straight forward as I imagine many are. I have always been the person to help others with their academics, not because I was the most intelligent but because I was not above saying I had no idea and researching for the correct answer. But then my life was handed something I could not research for an answer to. In my early 20's my now adopted daughter informed me that she was being abused by her birth family. I can see the question in your head, “this pertains to her teaching philosophy how?” If you will continue to read I think it will become clear.
With the extensive abuse my daughter suffered through it left her with a long list of both psychological and psychiatric disorders, many that have made learning very difficult especially in the normal classroom setting. In kindergarten her anger defiant disorder and inability to control her anger sent her chasing a fellow classmate with a pair of scissors (no one was hurt). Her disassociative disorder kept her mind “other” places and caused her to fall behind. These are just two of hundreds of issues I began to face with her and it quickly became apparent I had to find a different way to help her learn.
Over the years I have taken the lessons her teachers were trying to teach her and formatted them in a manner that reached her. As my other children entered school and progressed through the grades I have found myself doing the same for them as well, taking lessons being taught that were causing them difficulty and tailoring it to whichever child it was to help them learn that lesson. My now 14 year old daughter had a hard time learning her multiplication facts so I took both her love of soccer and her competitive nature into account and created the “times table tournament”. Simply explained I took a soccer ball and wrote one multiplication fact on each white area. I then placed my daughter in front of the soccer goal and gave the ball to someone else. The object was for my daughter to not allow anyone to score against her. The key was that before the ball was moved the multiplication problem showing was given to my daughter. She had to give the correct answer before she could defend against her opponent. It was only a short time before she found the ability to recall the facts quickly.
I explained this example to hopefully help you understand my way of thinking and teaching. In every class there will be a student maybe more that needs an “out of the box” way of presenting a lesson. While to some this I as a hindrance or seen as a sign of weakness, I find it encouraging and normal.
How does all this craziness explain my teaching philosophy? Easily as my philosophy is that while every student has the same goal, be it to pass the lesson or to pass the class, there are those that see a different path to get there. I encourage that student to see his different way of thinking as positive while helping him to reach the same goal as his peers. My philosophy is to teach while feeding self-esteem and inner-strength by supporting the many different ways my students may think. More work on me? Maybe but to see that troubled student finally grasp that lesson alluding them is worth it to me in the end.