To thoroughly explain the philosophy that I plan to use when approaching my teaching style, I’m going to provide a backstory first. As early as I can remember I have always had a hard time in school. Sitting still, reading quietly, working independently in class, and not talking was always the most difficult thing for me. I was an elementary school student in the 1990s when I feel the teaching profession had not yet achieved the level of progression that it has now. I always excelled when it came to physical activity and fitness. It wasn’t so much my comprehension of the material that was being taught, and I wouldn’t say that I was bored with the lessons, I believe that I just wasn’t provided the opportunity to learn the way that worked for me. It took until I was in high school for teachers to start taking a differentiated approach to teaching and learning. Finally, I was allowed the opportunity to get up and leave when I felt like I could not contain myself, and then come back to class when I was ready. My marks did not diminish with my absence from class, in fact they improved. I learned around that time that I can retain information far better when I find relatability in the subject matter. At this time I observed that others that seemed to have the ability to sit still and listen also had the ability to learn for any teacher, whether good or bad. It seemed to me that some students are gifted with the ability to learn no matter what, whereas I and others like me were not. I was a disruptive and restless student, and this is where I find my philosophy of teaching.
For years now I have been a professional musician and artist. It’s that which led me into a program where I would find myself teaching young students. Within the music education program I run with the French Catholic School Board, and during my recent practicum placement, I tried to expel as much energy I have built up to make sure I am an entertaining, fun, and engaging teacher. I love to run experiments and interactive activities that get the students excited and directs the focus of overly-energetic students, like myself. From the experience I have thus far, I’ve noticed that the gifted learners are engaged, but also that I can retain the attention of the more talkative and disruptive students. The way that I have been, and will lesson plan is as if I’m always approaching it with differentiated instruction in mind.
Deviating a little from the aforementioned teaching style, I’m also a big enthusiast of the use of technology for the purpose of learning. I’ve been a freelance graphic artist for the last decade. The use of technology in the real world is only progressing, not regressing. To abstain from the use of it in the classroom would be detrimental to a student's learning experience, and also incongruent with their interests and understanding. For example, when I approach the music lessons I teach to grade 5 and 6 students, I always consider my examples and styles. I would quickly lose interest in the class of 10 and 11-year-olds if my examples of music included Bach and Mozart. This is why I bring with me styles of music that reflect their generation, which recalls my goal to always keep the material modern and reflective of the students themselves. I believe that engagement will increase if I’m able to reach the students on their level a few examples being; using technology like ‘Kahoot!’ for in-class quizzes in which the students can respond directly from their cell phones, constant updating of an online database that is accessible to parents and students with homework and deadlines, the use of sharing apps like Google Docs/GSuite to encourage group work and class participation.
Coming from a place of entrepreneurship, I know that if a business doesn’t move with the times it becomes dated and disinteresting. Teaching is not a business, but it is a service for students. It is a service for children in the 21st century who have 21st-century tools and interests. I will always try to keep that in mind while teaching and planning because it's for them that I’m working and in business, the customer is always right.