Answering the question of ‘who am I as a teacher’ is an incredibly difficult task as an MA2 student who has only experienced teaching one P5/6 class so far in her career. However, it is a question that has been at the back of my mind ever since I did my first work experience in a primary school in S6.
Over the course of my experience of primary school, I have been fortunate enough to witness many great examples of outstanding teachers. These experiences were so positive, I know that they will remain with me for the rest of my life, not just career. Although I am inspired by my experiences, it is important to remember that I need to have my own philosophy of teaching – what qualities will embody me as a primary teacher in my own right.
To understand my own values in my profession, I first look at the GTC Standards that provide a good start for each qualified teacher in Scotland. Among other characteristics, teachers should uphold the professional values of Social Justice, Integrity, Trust and Respect and Professional Commitment (GTC Scotland, 2012). I believe in the importance of these professional values, with particular emphasis on creating an inclusive and respecting classroom environment and continually striving to improve my own professional practice as I face new challenges in my career.
An inclusive and respecting classroom environment means that all views and beliefs are heard and that children learn that respecting doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with, but rather it means you allow the individual to follow their own beliefs as is their human right. Not spreading a message of animosity, but respect regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, as humanity is equal.
This is why I resonate so much with the beliefs that the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile strives to instil in each pupil under their programme. For me, it is key that pupils are taught to be Open-Minded (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2013), which refers to creating their own informed beliefs. This means that quality discussions about world issues and differing views is an important aspect of more informal learning in the classroom, an activity which I strongly believe is valuable.
I further agree with the concept of creating Inquirers (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2013) as I fondly remember my own love of learning when I was of school age, so I am passionate about motivating pupils to pursue learning rather than see it as a chore. I think that to achieve this, Reflection is required (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2013), so I am inspired by how the IB Learner Profile links all of these qualities with the aim to create autonomous and successful learners.
Finally, to create my philosophy of the kind of teacher I want to be, I look to my own qualities that I can bring to the job, the ones I believe made me ideal for the profession in the first place. I think this is particularly important to consider as well as relating to the GTC Standards and IB Learner Profile because the teaching job is easier if you are allowed to be yourself in the classroom. I think I work well and enjoy working with children because I am empathetic, which allows me to understand how others feel and show kindness to all. I am also knowledgeable in many areas as I have always liked speaking to people to improve my own understanding, which means that I am happy to teach every subject and ensure pupils possess knowledge from a diverse curriculum also. I believe that primary school should be about preparing pupils for the path they choose to pursue in later life, so covering all subject areas caters to each pupil’s passion.
Most of all, I want my pupils to be happy. I want to emphasise the importance of physical, social and mental wellbeing in a world where you judge yourself over how many likes your selfie got or whether you participated in the Fortnite tournament last night. I want my teaching to inspire pupils to want to come to school and go home to find out more about what they learned today. I want to nurture a love of reading books and to help my pupils aim high, and be the best they can be.
This is my philosophy of teaching as I embark on becoming a successful Primary teacher.
The Standards For Registration. GTC Scotland (2012). Available at: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/standards-for-registration-1212.pdf (Accessed 29/9/19).
The IB Learner Profile. International Baccalaureate Organization (2013). Available at: https://www.ibo.org/contentassets/fd82f70643ef4086b7d3f292cc214962/learner-profile-en.pdf (Accessed 29/9/19).