Silly as it may sound, my teaching philosophy stems heavily from experience as a camp counselor. It was as a camp counselor that I learned to program with intention, lead engaging activities, moderate thought-provoking discussions, and ultimately guide groups of hormonal teenagers unknowingly towards knowledge. I say unknowingly for the following reasons:
- When you think you know something already you don’t really listen and you don’t really learn. My intention is to break students from the habit of thinking “Been here, done that…” and checking out. I challenge all students to approach their education as an opportunity, and constantly ask “What can I get out of this experience with the material, with these people, and in this learning environment?” Having an understanding of an aspect of a subject does not free you from the task of acquiring another, perhaps more whollistic, perhaps more specific, understanding.
- You don’t have knowledge. A core of my teaching philosophy is that the richness of knowledge does not lie (wrong one…which is wright?) its possession, but in its acquisition. Learning is a learning process, and it is only through doing some (read: lots) of learning that you can learn how you learn well. As a student you will inevitably meet a mountain of an idea that will not bow down to your mighty fist of knowledge so that you may stand upon its highest peak. Rather, you must get your humble hands dirty and climb the mountain to reach the summit. And even if you had crazy super powers or a cape or something that could fly you up to there and plop you off at the top, what would you know about that mountain, anyway?
Ultimately, I view my responsibility as a teacher as dual to the responsibility of the student. I am a teacher because they are students; when they do not successfully fill the role of student, I am no longer being a teacher. Thus it is my objective to shape them into the best students that they can be, and in turn, they shape me into a better teacher.