What’s your philosophy of education? We all have one . . . somewhere. On a shelf. In a binder we left boxed up when we moved classrooms last summer. On some slide in a PowerPoint we presented in 2004. Initially, we write them as a sort of personal manifesto, a statement of belief, inspired by two or three classes in educational theory and a sense of youthful idealism. We attach these statements to our resumes and use them as cover sheets in our portfolios. Our teaching philosophies boast our knowledge of the technicalities of the craft, and our passion for the opportunity to engage in it. But then we start teaching. And everything we thought we knew about our profession changes.
All of a sudden that statement of philosophy that was intended to define our approach to teaching and learning seems. . . well. .. youthful and idealistic. No one says it directly, but the message is clear, “It’s great that you came to education inspired to make a difference. Now, put that away and get to work”. And so many of us do just that. Do we really believe that what inspires us to teach and learn is not important? Are we, in some small way, a little embarrassed to share our own journey of learning? Is that statement of philosophy supposed to be put on the shelf? I hope the answer is “no”, or at least “not anymore”. As we launch back into the second semester with fresh energy from the break, it’s a great time to re-evaluate why we continue to choose this line of work and to re-establish what we believe about teaching and learning. Make this a priority for your next PLC meeting. What inspires you individually? What inspires you collectively? What key phrases from your personal and shared philosophies can you make part of your classroom environment? Here are a few phrases pulled from the vision, mission, and philosophy of Athlos Academies to get your wheels turning:
- Every student can live a fulfilling, responsible and successful life.
- All students can develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, a broad knowledge base, and healthy lifestyle habits.
- All students can strive to achieve individual goals in academics, athletics, and Performance Character every day.
- School culture celebrates student achievement.
- Families engage meaningfully in supporting student success.
- The purposeful development of traits such as grit, leadership, and social intelligence, arm students with the self-confidence, knowledge, and know-how necessary to be competitive in a competitive world.
- Physical fitness and healthy habits support high levels of academic achievement.
- The discipline, motivation, and teamwork of athletics engage students in becoming more active learners.
At Athlos, we believe that learning and wellness are inextricably connected and that providing high-quality instruction in academics, athletics, and Performance Character are all essential to achieving our goals. Kudos to you for what you have accomplished this year! And may the New Year bring you calm children, unjammed copy machines, and a renewed passion for teaching!
By: Jenn Thompson