I have always felt that the teacher is the primary factor in a student’s success or failure. What we do as teachers, how we believe, how well we plan, how well we communicate, and how well we build relationships all work together for optimal student learning.

Not only are we responsible for students learning the content of our classes, but we are responsible for helping them to become more information literate and to aspire to lifelong learning. In order to help students learn, it is important that the students are involved in active learning experiences where they create, research, discover, discuss, and question. My students are required to do all of these.

Motivation is also part of a teacher’s responsibility, as students do not necessarily come to us afire with the thirst for learning. Using questions, pre-tests, advance organizers, demonstrations, jokes, and modeling are ways I use to capture and hold student interest. I try to foster relationships with students so that I can relate my teaching to their personal lives. It also helps to hold high expectations for all students, and hold them accountable for their work. Thus, evaluation is constant in my classrooms through discussion, feedback, group, peer and self-assessment.

I am happy that I have had the opportunity to work for many years in K-12 public education and public library work. From these experiences, I have many stories to share with students that can make particular points of class content become more real to them. I encourage the integration of class content in their lives, often requiring that they create a product that is immediately useful to them.

As a well-rounded education is important, so is preparing students for the world of work. I have often had students take inventories such as the Gallop Strengths Finder and research information about future jobs so that they gain a focus for their lives. I hold the same criteria for classes that an employer would hold, such as being on time, acting professionally, and turning in professional-looking work. For students that show a thirst and heightened capacity for learning, I suggest that graduate work is in order.

Because I believe that you can't quench thirst from a dry well, I continually strive to improve my teaching. I take feedback from students very seriously and am flexible to change within a lesson or unit in response to student suggestions. I have worked to increase the use of technology in my teaching, especially having my students use technology as a tool for thinking. I like to talk to colleagues about teaching methods and ideas they use, and I enjoy the opportunity to observe other teachers. The best part of my job here is that I get to teach methods classes, and through reading and teaching those classes, I discover what works well for me.

I believe that I was called to teach, and that teaching is the most important job that a person can do. I feel honored to have been chosen.

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