I don't teach stuff.
I don't give them formulas to memorize or timelines to remember or definitions to copy.
I don't think of my students as blank slates, or imagine myself opening their heads and pouring in knowledge.
Every student has a story, and I want to find out what it is. Even more, though, I want that student to discover his or her own story.
Where did I come from? Why do I think the way I do? Who has the ability to influence me, and why? What roadblocks do I face? When will I discover a passion? How should I follow it?
I'm not teaching them facts; I'm teaching them how to learn.
Not What's the answer?, but What do I use to solve the problem?.
Not Will this be on the test?, but Where can I use this later?.
Not What do I need to know?, but How is this relevant?.
Now, what are my hopes?
I hope someday American culture will get over its need to test, test, test. I hope we come to realize that this leaves behind not only our struggling students, but our high-ability children, too. I hope we start to understand that pass/fail numbers aren't everything, and that critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity are far more important to the future of humankind than an SOL score could ever be.
I hope my students achieve great things.
As this blog gets rolling, I'll get into more specifics for teaching strategies, materials, and creative problem-solving. For the first few posts, though, the focus is going to be on why I'm doing this: Why am I blogging? Why do I teach? Why do I love what I do?