Had I been asked pre-2019, my teaching philosophy would have been to teach students to the best of my ability. Then in 2019, I became a Graduate Teachers Assistant in the MAPW program at Kennesaw State. One of my first classes was Teaching in High School and College, PRWR 6300, taught by Dr. Kim Haimes-Korn. One of our assignments in this course was to write a teaching philosophy. Since I had never taught before, I did not write have a full understanding of my philosophy. In August 2020, I became a Teacher of Record for English 1101. After this experience, I can now write a comprehensive statement.
Since I have taught this course, especially during this trying time, I have realized that my personal values of Respect, Responsibility, Communication, Compassion, and Understanding have become the cornerstones of my teaching approach. Even though this semester was filled with extraordinary circumstances, I learned that these values will be as important after this semester.
It is our responsibility to show up to class on our assigned days at our assigned time, ready to teach a prepared lesson. This is also a form of respect. If we do not respect ourselves, our students, or our jobs, then we will not feel responsible to any of those three.
Communication is a two-way street. We, as instructors, need to ensure we are keeping the lines of communicaiton open, and listen as well as talk. We also have to be aware of the non-verbal communication as well. We have to be clear and concise with our instructions, and be open to questions when those instructions are not as clear as we thought.
However, now more than ever, we also have the repsonsibilt to be compassionate and understanding. Not everything happens according to a playbook, and no matter how well we plan, things can go awry. Illnesses are contracted or accidents happen. Mental health issues can also rear it ugly head. Family obligations and even death distract us from the more mundane. While we need rules in place, we cannot be blind to the human factor as well.
After all is said and done, students are people too. We have the responsibility to treat them with respect, compassion, and understanding while sharing honest and open communication. If students are treated in this manner, then they will act accordingly and give their insturctors the sames values right back.