I believe every student is an individual first. My several years of teaching in an elementary classroom have fully convinced me of this truth. Every student has a unique personality, an independent way of thinking, and follows a different learning curve.
I believe teaching should be student-centered. Teachers should provide each student with help and advice as the student needs it. A teacher is not only an instructor who lectures to students, but is also a guide who leads students through challenges, helps them find strengths, and gives them direction for future growth, especially at the level of higher education. In this way, my relationship with students is like a guide leading tourists. All students come from different backgrounds and interests, so where they would like to go, and what they would like to do, will be different as well. I will not take all of my students in the same direction; I will direct each individual student where she or he would like to go. I will share my knowledge to help my students find their own way.
In my class, my students and I are all learners. I believe that, in addition to what we learn in academic education, we all learn from experience. And students have learned many things from their experiences that they can teach back. Students’ life experiences are different from mine, and students will find their experiences become useful in my class when they share their knowledge with other students and with me.
I believe people learn best by doing. In my class, all assignments are project oriented. It becomes clear from looking at student projects what students have learned, and students are really learning when they make the projects. Students use role-playing to experience a view from another persons’ shoes, and to better understand different perspectives in the future. Students are also required to give many class presentations. When compared with a teacher’s lecture, student presentations require more active learning: students must truly comprehend the course content in order to teach it to their fellow students. When students are presenting, my role is to support the truthfulness of the material and to raise critical questions for the students presenting.
In my class, I hope to foster students’ critical thinking skills. Students will be required to do research as homework and present their results in critical reports. During their student presentations I will raise critical questions to foster each student’s higher thinking skills, and I will encourage other students to develop critical questions as well. I believe that, when a person knows how to ask critical questions, it is then that they begin to develop their own critical thinking skills. Students are also very welcome to raise critical questions about my ideas. I believe that this environment of engaged learning will encourage the development of stronger and stronger ideas.
I also encourage my students to develop problem-solving strategies. In my class, I never give my students a direct answer, but always provide them with more questions to guide their own thinking toward a solution to the problem. I believe that, if an instructor can guide students well by modeling good problem-solving skills, then her students will develop these skills as well.
In this era of rapidly developing technology, it is necessary to teach students useful software. However, although we are teaching our students for the future, we really cannot know what kind of software the future will use. To prepare my students, I teach them not only how to use specific software programs, but also how to understand the logic of specific software and how to apply this understanding to other software programs. I provide my students with resources from professional journals and from the ever-present internet. I will share all my resources with my students and will also help them to learn how to find their own resources in the future.
Being a teacher always makes me feel happy and accomplished. I also know that teaching is not and should not be an easy job. Different students present different challenges. I love to work with and face challenges. I want to devote myself to education for the hope of the future—our students.