Over the past five years, I have spent countless hours developing as a teaching professional through my university course work and in a variety of classroom field placements. I have been able to reflect on what it means to be an excellent educator, what it means to be a student, and how I can be a teacher who meets the academic and social-emotional needs of all students. I have come to believe that these elements are necessary for effective teaching and learning: care/kindness, respect, knowledge, and high expectation/rigor.


I believe a classroom environment where all students can succeed is grounded in care and kindness. Before a teacher can begin to teach or a student can begin to learn, students must know they are cared for and shown kindness and compassion on a daily basis. As a teacher, it is imperative to be able to actively listen to your students, empathize with their perspective, and to provide words of care and encouragement. Students learn best in an environment when they know their teacher cares for and believes in their success. Finally, a teacher must give students the opportunity to learn about and witness care and kindness. This social-emotional learning can take place through high quality read-alouds, modeling, and practice. It is imperative that all students are shown care and kindness, and through the process of modeling and practice, will show kindness to one another on a daily basis.


An element closely related to care and kindness is respect. All members of the classroom community should show respect to themselves, one another, and the learning environment. As a teacher, I plan to model respectful behavior through my day-to-day interactions and to hold students to a high standard in regards to respect. A respectful classroom is a safe classroom and a safe classroom is where students learn best.


As an educator, I understand that I am constantly in the pursuit of knowledge and that there is a diverse range of information that is crucial for me to possess in order to be effective. This includes expertise in the subject matter I teach, an understanding of the unique personal histories and experiences of the students in my classroom, as well as familiarity with instructional techniques that are supported by research. I am continually seeking new skills and knowledge through podcasts, books, and from colleagues. I plan to model for students habits learners need to possess and guide my students through their very own process of learning and discovery in all academic areas.  

High Expectations/Rigor

Finally, in order for a classroom of learners to grow academically, they must be held to high expectations and standards and be allowed to interact with subject matter that is rigorous. My image of the child is of a person who has their own unique skill set and personality, a desire and willingness to learn and share new ideas, and is highly capable of learning and being successful. It is my job to meet students where they are academically, whether that be below grade-level, on grade-level, or above grade-level, and to challenge them with learning that allows for tremendous growth throughout the school year. I wholly believe all students in the classroom have the ability to learn and grow when they are exposed to academic content that encourages this progress.