My Philosophy of Teaching

My Philosophy of Teaching


''The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."

                                                                                                           - William Arthur Ward.


       It was always my dream to be an individual who has her impact on others. I dreamt to be a nurse, a physician, but finally I chose to be a teacher for some reasons. My family, the society, and me in the first place contributed to such a decision. First, I used to help my brothers and sisters in every single subject. I have taught them what I have learnt at school concerning such subjects. Even if I have my stuff to do, I have to devote some time for my brothers and sisters. I checked how they proceed in their school and whether they have done their homework and if they need any help in any subject, I was ready to help. Frankly, some teachers there have inspired me especially teachers of Arabic courses and my English teachers at the university. To me, they were good examples of devotion, sincere dedication, and precision. From others, I have developed critical thinking skills, learning strategies, different learning styles, and how to appreciate each individual. I learnt from other people as well. I have learnt from my mother and father. I have learnt from my mother embroidery and cooking. Above all, I have learnt other important things as well. I have learnt from them punctuality, precision, seriousness, hard working, and devotion. When a person seeks my help, I do not say ''no''. After all, this word never exists in my dictionary. I have been brought by parents who are truly helpful and supportive to the maximum. What I have learnt at school and from my parents was perfectly applied at home. When a person seeks my assistance in any other subject, it is a chance for me to refine my knowledge and make it elevated. As advanced above, I could not be a physician, nor a nurse because our society appreciates Saudi female teachers more. Then, I chose to be a language teacher because I have this passion for literature. I used to write poems, short stories, and the like. I chose English specifically because it was a challenge for me to study a language that I do not know much about except through the media and books. Through English and English only, I can reach many.

''Education has for its object the formation of character.''

                                                                                    -Herbert Spencer

         To be a teacher means to be helpful, patient, well-behaved, supportive, intelligent, omniscient, and equipped regarding many skills. Besides, a teacher should be a good listener with many other social skills. Teaching and learning are endless processes. Such processes are closely related and dependent on each other. To teach, you should learn first. To learn, you should be taught. The product of such processes is the learner. The learner is not only an absorbent of information, but an independent individual who seeks perfection, self-development, and who is looking for applying what is learned wherever and whenever possible. Thus, education is not merely transmitting information and taking exams. It is improving oneself to the better. Also, teachers are not only transmitters of information but they go beyond transmitting information to be facilitators, sources of help, guidance, and also examples of good behavior, devotion, and sincere dedication. This implies that the job of a teacher is not restricted to be a controller of classrooms, but also reaches other boundaries such as developing and maintaining good relationships with students and colleagues as well.

Teaching is a valuable career. Sometimes, people will learn from their teachers more than from important people. Teachers can change societies, open minds, and bring peace to countries. To me, knowledge is a sea because it is huge and endless. Learning and teaching processes are just when you drink from the sea or when you help others to drink. These processes are also endless. Teaching students and self-development for teachers are endless. Learning for students is endless. When you drink from the sea, you become alive, but when you help others drink, you make others alive, and this what teachers are constantly doing.

"In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?                                                                                                                                                           -Carl Rogers            

        I am an ardent believer in Rogers's humanistic psychology. In such an approach, students are not inferior to teachers and teachers are no more superior to their students. Students should not be devalued, but they should be worthy of our attention. Also, a teacher should create a non-threatening environment. Such an approach is effective only if one knows how to apply it within the constraints of our culture. In our culture, a teacher is the  controller of the class who sets many barriers between her and her students. If a teacher ignores such barriers, students won't respect her. Thus, I applied such an approach in a way that maintained respect between me and my students. I tried my best to remember their names because I want them to feel that I am close to them. I keep asking my students if they face problems of any sort, so I can help them. I listen to them and sometimes I offer solutions. Often, I tried to help them myself.  My help is not restricted to explaining what I should enthusiastically explain, but it extents to problems in registration and transferring. I do believe that my job is not only teaching but also helping students within my potentials. Moreover, from the first day, I introduce my self to them. I introduce them to the course and what I do expect from them regarding attendance, homework, on line projects. Usually, I do not talk about discipline in class because I do believe that they are mature enough to behave well unless I discover that one of the students is ill-mannered. In this case, I draw the attention of the whole class to the importance of being polite with teachers and friends. If this continues, I will ask the ill-mannered student if she has anything to add. If she still wants to disturb the class, I will ask her to go out.

   ''The aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values.''

                                                                                                            -Dean William R. Inge


         For me, to be punctual, precise, serious, perfect, fully prepared, well-behaved, and to have self-commitment towards my country, my family, my students, my society and my colleagues are my priorities. Students will learn these things besides what I used to teach them. I tried indirectly to teach my students such things. I know that I cannot reach perfection, but at least I tried to.

 ''Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.''

                                                                                   -Chinese Proverb

        Students are of different learning styles and more specifically have different learning strategies. Some students come to the university with the expectation that teachers have the power to transform them into successful learners. Thus, it is necessary for us as teachers to bridge such a gap between what thy expect and what reality is. This was one of the reasons behind choosing level-one students as my students. I think I have been exposed enough to our educational system and have the ability to understand what such students come with, what their expectations are, how they conceptualize learning and teaching processes, and what their understanding of the role of a teacher is. Hence, in my first class, I explained to my students that if they want to succeed, they should not rely on what is taught in class, but they should look for other sources of knowledge if they want to be really improved. Also, I introduce my students to the fact that each individual is different regarding learning strategies and styles and, therefore, we should learn from our friends and teachers other learning strategies and styles, not only to build on ours, but to improve them by adding to them. For global learners, it is necessary to show them the whole picture, but for analytic learners it is more important to show them the components of this picture. Moreover, I implement different techniques in class because using different aids and techniques is not only a sign of professionalism, but also a way to help students of different learning strategies in understanding materials easily. Additionally, I experiment with different teaching methods and approaches such as the audio-lingual method, the grammar-translation method, the communicative approach and the like. Some approaches may meet some students' needs.

''The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.''

                                                                                   -Herbert Spencer

        We all teach, but have our students learnt what is taught? To learn something means to apply it, to analyze it, to expand it, and to connect it to previous knowledge. Some students may not learn or do not store what is taught because there is no chance to apply what they learnt or because what is taught is not of interest to them or it is too abstract to be understood and learnt. Hence, teachers should connect what they are teaching to what is going on in reality. They should link their materials to students' previous knowledge.  They should create life and meaning in their teaching materials.

"He who dares to teach must never cease to learn."
                                                                                                                 - Richard Henry Dann

        I have been teaching for 4 years and I still believe that I am a beginner who is eager for self-improvement. I do not want be the same teacher who was teaching 2 years ago. I am looking forward to be improved and changed and this is what I am trying to do. Sharing others' experience and listening to my students are two important resources for self-improvement.