The word “professional” originally ment a person who made a profession of faith in the midst of a disheartening world. –Parker Palmer
I like this description of what it means to be a professional because it has helped me think about why I want to be a teacher and what I experience as I try to learn to be one. I know what it means to make a profession of faith in today’s world and trying to live out my teaching philosphy feels much the same. It feels like a challenge when there are so many people who disagree or situations that make it difficult but it is a worthwhile struggle because I believe in the value of my students as people who will make positive changes in their worlds and have hope that through my teaching I can help them get there.
The things that I believe in guide my practice as a teacher. For example, I believe that hands on and active learning are better than lectures. So I work hard to make sure that I include activities in my classes and want to have as many opportuntities to teach lab classes with my lecture courses, even as many lab classes are being eliminated in college degrees.
I also believe that real learning are often not learned in a classroom but through tours, field trips, study abroad or internships. So creating these opportuntites for my students through networking and raising money for tours and travel are something I want to do.
And I believe that I am a teacher of my subject area, soil science, but I will forever be a student of learning and teaching. I started teaching because I loved learning and as long as I never forget how rewarding it was to master something but also how challenging it was to struggle with a new idea, I can be a good teacher.
What believes do you hold for yourself about yourself and your teaching?