21 - 22 Teacher of the Year
My personal teaching philosophy embodies these values. I teach a rigorous curriculum supported by the AKS, but acceptable behavior must be taught and learned before rich learning can occur. I am firm in my belief that quality teaching and deep learning cannot take place without genuine relationships. I know with absolute certainty that in order for a child to effectively engage in instruction and apply their learning, they must feel valued, safe, and loved first.
This philosophy that I have developed over the years is evident when you enter my classroom. I take the time to learn about what is important to my students. In the first few weeks of school, you will often find me on the floor with a student talking about Pokémon or kittens. I believe it’s an act of significant value to meet students where they feel comfortable whether that is laying on a pillow, sitting criss-cross on the floor, or pulling up a chair to their desk and just drawing together. I let the students do most of the talking, and I chime in when we have something in common in hopes of strengthening our bond. In order for these conversations to be effective, they must be sincere, honest, and genuine; they also must occur often. Only then can we start to move onto learning the AKS.
I’ve found that taking the time to foster student-teacher relationships result in positive behavior and attitudes. The love and respect we share for one another is evident as we become a community of learners that want to help one another succeed socially, emotionally, and academically. Without this important piece of the puzzle, teachers will find themselves dealing with interruptions and unmotivated learners throughout the year. This is why it’s my belief that I must take as much time as my students need in the beginning of the year to form these connections.- Ms. Spivey