Philosophy of Education
In my opinion, life can be treated like one big story problem. It’s a complicated process without a clear answer. No one is giving you the magic formula to solve for success, but through gaining experience and knowledge a solution can be found. Educators are like guides, presenting possible methods and opportunities for growth, but it is ultimately up to the student to apply what they are taught and come up with their own personal answer.
In my teaching I plan to apply the steps for solving a story problem. These are not unique to math education, but can be used as a lens for grasping any concept in life. The steps are as follows: identify the variable; assemble equations; solve; and finally apply. Both students and teachers must participate in each section in order to acquire the desired result.
Identify the Variable:
The purpose of education is to grant students with the proper skills and knowledge to succeed at solving problems in the work force or everyday life. As teachers, we only get to influence a particular student for a year or maybe two, so the information we give and the time we spend is precious. That is why I firmly believe in the benefits of practical application in education. In my math classes, I not only want my students to know how to solve when an equation is presented, but be able to identify the problem when guidance is limited. When students show this skill, they demonstrate that they not only can memorize a concept, but beyond that they understand it and can apply it.
Assembling Equations is the middle process of education, where students have to find a way to get from point A to point B. The information has been presented by the teacher and the students have identified the unknown. Now they must apply different areas of knowledge and find an answer. This most often can be the hardest part for students. It is important to remember that students have different learning styles and some concepts that come easy to one student can be difficult for another and vice versa. To embrace this fact, I plan to incorporate multiple learning styles into my classroom. My goal is to have each student succeed, and I will alter my lessons to fit their needs. To do this I will add in projects, group work, video, and practical presentations into the standard math curriculum. This will allow my students to become well rounded and assemble their equations from a variety of perspectives.
Good educators provide the tools necessary to reach a goal. The tools include having patience, as well as being attentive and flexible in the way that they present material. The solving stage of the process is when the teacher begins to back away from the picture and the student takes the reins. I believe there is joy in finding a correct answer, and I want my students to be able to feel that sense of success and accomplishment.
The final step in any education process is applying. Once you have this wealth of knowledge and have used it to find an answer, what is next? What does your answer mean? Student interpretation is very powerful, and I do not think it should be stifled. Education gives students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the real world and form their own opinions. That is the beauty of teaching, and seeing kids grow. At first they all believe the same things, but then curiosity comes along. With encouragement, that curiosity can turn into a passion. Not all of my students will come to love math as much as I do, but through application I hope to plant a seed of appreciation for it at the very least.
I want to be an educator so I can help students grow. I have had so many influential teachers that have inspired me throughout my education, and I hope to be that for others. My goal is to show my students what they are capable of. I am looking forward to seeing them graduate and having them come back and tell me of their success. If I have a small part in helping them solve their story problem, that is the only reward I need.