Teaching is not simply a job—it is a continuous commitment to investing in the lives of students. I feel passionate about reaching out to others and motivating them to reach their potential. This past fall, I had the privilege to student teach at Slippery Rock High School. I feel completely confirmed in my calling to pursue teaching as a profession as I had an incredible sixteen weeks building into the lives of high school students. I feel that my two greatest strengths as an educator are that I am able to engage and connect well with my students. The majority of my lessons focus on discovery learning which is imperative to math classes as they enhance logical reasoning and problem solving skills. Rather than merely lecturing my students and unloading information on them, I incorporate discovery learning throughout my lessons by asking appropriate questions and including scaffolding to lead them to discover the information. This method instills great confidence in my students as they take more ownership of their work.
Throughout my lessons, I call on various students, and I often target struggling students to engage them as they need the most help and provide me with an immediate assessment of the entire class’ understanding. I connect the material to current, real world situations, and I have my students explain to me the mathematical steps. This allows my students to not simply memorize numbers and formulas, but rather to attain a deeper understanding of why and how mathematics works.
Connecting with students and showing interest in their lives has amazing outcomes. Although I only had sixteen weeks with my students, I was able to effectively show them that I cared about their lives. Theodore Roosevelt stated, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When students know that a teacher believes in them, they will reach their highest potential.
It is my belief that a teacher needs to have a genuine passion and excitement for equipping students with the priceless gift of education. Students can tell which teachers are genuinely interested in their advancement of academic knowledge. When the teacher transcends the classroom and takes interest and involvement in the students’ lives outside of the classroom, then the teacher truly make a difference in the lives of students. Near the beginning of student teaching, one of my students in my geometry class complained to me that math was her least favorite subject because none of it made sense. I told her that I was going to make math fun for her during my class, and that I wanted her to come in after school if she was struggling. She came in one day after school each week for about a month and afterwards she told me that my class was her favorite and that now she understands and loves math. Opportunities such as this have personally made teaching for me more than just a career.
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