I teach because I love it. I love the feeling of seeing a student’s eyes light up when something suddenly makes sense. And I love seeing the joy a student feels when a long-time obstacle is finally overcame.
My teaching/tutoring philosophy largely comes down to a few basic tenets:
- Every student is unique and needs a unique approach. Someone who struggles isn’t incapable of understanding the material, they usually are simply struggling to understand it as presented. I have ADHD and this has forced me to experiment with many different methods of learning, some of which were pretty unorthodox. But that’s how I learn. Every learner is different and just needs an educator who is willing to try alternative approaches. I love being that educator.
- Learning can be democratic. It should be a constant negotiation between teacher and learner about what things to approach and how to approach them. Obviously this has limits (if I’m teaching you Latin, we can’t negotiate into learning biology), but if students feel involved in the curriculum and whatnot, they will always care more and try harder. The “sage on the stage” model of learning is condescending and, simply put, you shouldn’t feel condescended to. We’re all taking the path, I’m just further along because I’ve been doing it longer; that’s the only thing that privileges me with leading the lessons. We’re all equals in learning.
- It’s extremely important for things to be transparent to students (and parents). Expectations should be clear as should the reasons. This very intimately ties into the last point: it’s their classroom as much as it’s mine. I will always do my best to explain why I’m requiring certain things because I think the students deserve that. Furthermore, this helps to build trust, which is a valuable resource in the student/teacher relationship.
- I will always bring passion and joy to the lesson. I try to only ever teach or tutor things that I absolutely love so that every lesson is naturally motivated and easy to get swept up in. I will also try to find ways to inspire these feelings in every student because, honestly, that’s when learning happens the best: when it’s passion driven and not necessity driven.
- Technology can be great in the classroom, but should be used strategically. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to try something for a lesson or two, but forcing software or hardware into the educational process just because you have it can really set lessons back and, ultimately, make students/parents trust you less.
I could write more, but I thought it was important to keep it brief. Feel free to email me if you have any questions on any of this. I could talk for hours about pedagogy and my teaching philosophy!
Thanks for your time!