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My Teaching Philosophy  Statement
“One can do anything, anything at all…if provided with a passionate and gifted teacher.”  Pat Conroy

    I love my job!
    My job enables me to interact with an extremely diverse group of students.  Some bear the weight of their parents’ expectations; some have no parents, some the hopes of being the first in the family to graduate from high school.  Some come from families that drive the finest cars in the world and others from families without a car.  Some listen to Britney Spears and others classical music.  But all of them have dreams and aspirations.
    My job allows me to interact with students and listen to their goals, their concerns, their lives, and their feelings.  It lets me counsel, comfort, and challenge the vastly different students.  Often, students merely need someone to listen and a place to hang out during lunch.
    My job pushes me to stay current in my field.  Science does not occur in a vacuum.  Advances in science occur at a phenomenal rate.  Discussing the breakthrough developments in the newest findings in global warming or the latest debate on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge bring the present day world right into my classroom.
    My job provides me an avenue to bring humor into the classroom.  Comics dealing with science-related topics abound.  Far Side comics are the best!  Some will set the stage for a particular topic; others summarize; some are put on tests to lighten the students’ mood and mostly to make them smile when they see it.    Among all of the choices, the challenge is to find the right comic for the right situation and to use it appropriately.
    My job encourages me to provide a learning environment where everyone feels comfortable in expressing an opinion.  An environment where any question is reasonable and merits an answer.  Sometimes I will provide an answer.  More often, I have the students work for the answer or provide resources for their further investigation.
    My job invites me to listen to differing viewpoints on a myriad of topics.  Class discussions and issues can broaden as appropriate.  A discussion of the evidence for continental drift can lead to discussions on sonar capabilities of our U.S. Navy.  Issues on population density can lead to discussion on China’s strict one child rule.  An issue on teenage diets versus what is actually considered healthy is a hot topic.
    My job opens a window onto my students.  I watch them grow and mature.  I watch friendships develop.  Some will last a lifetime, others a month.  I watch lights flicker in my students’ eyes.  Some will dim quickly; some will burn brightly forever.  The window looks both ways and my students watch me mature and my child continue to grow.  I can’t isolate my career from my life.  I can’t isolate my students.   They are right there with me for the year, our mutual learning endeavor.  This sharing goes well beyond the classroom.  I invite the parents/guardians into the learning environment.  I am looking for feedback on what their child tells them at home, and most importantly what the problem areas are.
    My job excites me to incorporate new modes of instruction, and to do so in a manner that is seamless and effective.  I have to incorporate all modes of learning styles into my curriculum.  I have students writing lectures in Cornell style, reflecting on labs and units, drawing and explaining figures in the textbook, and performing labs and projects.  Hands-on learning is what the students enjoy the most and so do I.  This allows the students to demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge.  Science is not solely learned from a textbook.  If that were the case I would be out of a job!
    My job entices me to embrace technology.  I use the desktop computer, which is hooked up to the TV in the classroom to illustrate points and concepts from the Internet.  I am looking to incorporate Inspiration (a concept map program) into my curriculum along with Power Point presentations the students will create on environmental issues. I have also worked extremely hard to develop a web site on which I post my units covered, relevant links, safety rules, lecture notes, table of contents for each unit covered, homework assignments and other incredibly helpful pieces of information.
    My students inspire me to improve my teaching.  I want to provide information that is fresh and interesting and exciting.  I love science for its history, its current findings, and for its potential.  It enthralls many students because it is such a new subject for them.  It also interests parents because it is such a new subject for them. I try to bring my enthusiasm for the subject into the classroom everyday.
    My job empowers me with the privilege to touch the lives of individuals.  Some of them will become political leaders; some CEO’s of large corporations; some managers at a local fast-food chain.  Some will fulfill their dreams; others will have to find new dreams.  Each of them will make decisions that affect themselves, their family, the planet, and their future generations.
    My goal is for each of my students to spend a little more time thinking and analyzing the ethical, sociological, and scientific implications of decisions they make than they would have if they had not been placed in my class.  I teach them to think and analyze rather than memorize.
    My job drives me to constantly learn new things and to constantly try new techniques to provide course information.  Some of these techniques will fail; others will require tweaking.  My career, like life, is constantly evolving-hopefully for the better.  My Job challenges me to be the best that I can be, and then be even better.
    I love my job!  I am a science teacher at Hewes Middle School.
 
The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
              William Ward

Jocelyn Young