I’m going to be working with a teaching candidate (student teacher) this coming year. I’m already psyched, because the two conversations that we’ve had have left us both wondering where the time went.
As I automatically reflected on the second meeting, I realized that I’m already starting to, sort of…. groom him into my philosophy of education. That sounds sort of sinister, but once I explain a bit more it might not.
Over the past two years of teaching and from psychology classes before that, I’ve come to a couple of tenets of dispositions that I think are essential to being a good teacher.
1) Every student can get it, and getting it is only dependent on their previous experiences (inside and outside the classroom).
2) People are logical creatures. They may have false premises, or those premises may be simply emotions, but in the end what they are doing makes sense to them on some level. I feel that this is critical for empathy.
3) Every answer to any question is right on some level. I mean even silence is an answer (it could be “I’m scared of you” or “I have two conflicting possibilities” or “I’m bored”)
3a) People can tell when their incorrect answer doesn’t match up. If they ask, point out what parts of their thinking are correct, and they will be able to identify the rest. Let them know help is on offer, but do not help unless you are asked. Respect them enough to let them think for themselves.
4) I can control my behaviors. Through these, and only through these can I do anything about my attitudes. The same is true for everyone else in the world, so it’s pointless to talk about changing attitudes or intentions unless it is through changing behaviors.
5) More important than relevance for getting students interested is success. If they don’t feel successful on some level, then no amount of relevance is going to make them try your subject.
I know there are a few people already reading this blog. What needs to be added to the list? What needs to be clarified? What are your fundamental dispositions?