Hello everyone! My name is Angela Elizabeth Dart, and I am a senior attending Old Dominion University for a Licensure in PreK-6. I have an A.S in Social Science from Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia and I hope to complete my Master’s degree after completing my Bachelor’s. I currently live in Newport News, Virginia; however, I was born in Brunswick, Georgia. Since my father has worked in and for the military, I have lived in New York State, New Jersey, Alabama, and even Germany. My family consists of my mom and dad, and my younger brother David, who is currently going to Thomas Nelson Community College. I also have a German shepherd named Dakota, who I got as a puppy during my stay in Germany. My hobbies include reading and writing, and I also enjoy doing crafts such as cross-stitching. Since I am not a very good at drawing or painting, cross-stitching seems to be like a good alternative. I enjoy being outside, but I also love computers and technology in general. I spend most of my time on my computer and the internet, and I really enjoy searching the internet for various student and teacher resources. My favorite subjects, besides the educational courses, are social sciences and English. I also love learning different foreign languages; in high school, I took Japanese, French and German.
When I first became a college student, I had no plans of doing anything in education. I actually pursued a degree in Social Science, because I originally planned on becoming a child psychologist. I love children and helping them in any way that I can. Although I love the subject of psychology, I felt that I would be more beneficial as an educator than a psychologist. Therefore, after completing my A.S, I transferred to Old Dominion University to become a teacher. While it will be many years before it can become a reality, my goal in life is to open my own school for children, particularly underprivileged children. My dad, who is attending Regent University for a Doctorate’s and is currently working on his dissertation, is slowly convincing me to earn a Doctorate’s of my own to become a principal or superintendent.
Philosophy of Education
My philosophy on education is that each child has the ability to be unique and “stand-out” as a student and a person. The only aspect that is required is that the child has at least a strong support system in the classroom where he or she can freely express themselves, display their strengths, adjust their weaknesses and learn not just an academic lesson, but lifelong lesson as well. Classrooms are extremely more diverse than they were 20, and even 10, year ago, by race, ethnic groups, children with special needs, and even gender. I believe that children’s background do play an important role in their academic success. However, I also believe that a child’s background should not define what or how they learn. Instead, it should be the student themselves who define what and how they learn. In many cases, educators use stereotypes and misconceptions to teach certain students. While they may have good intentions, they are harming the student more than helping them because they are only exposing them to a small portion of learning.
The whole purpose of learning is to learn more, because learning is a life-long process. By doing using misconceptions at a critical stage of a child’s life, students grow thinking that a limited amount of information is acceptable, when they should be constantly expanding their knowledge. In my honest opinion, a good teacher is someone who is constantly encouraging and challenging their students at the same time. Classrooms will be consisted of below, on, and above grade level students and often, teachers may limit these three groups of students based on their readiness level. I do believe that each student has their limits, one may be of just passing, and another may be on the next grade level. However, it is the obligation of that educator to push their students beyond their limits so that when the children go home, they do so with a sense of accomplishment. It also teaches students that when there are completing a task, they should always do so to the best of their ability.
When it comes to diversity, I think it takes very gifted educators to recognize the diversity among their students and use it to bring the students together, despite their different backgrounds. In the past, the term diversity usually referred to children with disabilities and special needs. However, diversity now refers to children with disabilities and special needs, as well as immigrant children or children of immigrants, “at-risk” children, and even gender. Students who have special needs do require more attention and assistance of the instructor, but it does not mean that the instructor has to alienate the class for the special need student or alienate the special need student from the class. Even though they have more severe disabilities than the class, they are still students and should be as actively involved as possible. Boys and girls also should not be taught differently from each other. Often misconceptions or unreliable research makes teachers discredit students based on their gender. I believe that educators should occasionally read professional journals and articles about the thought process between boys and girls, because they may be able to play to the strengths of students. However, this should be done very carefully because each child is different, and thus, learn different. Educators should essentially take note of research but not depend on it.
Another important aspect of my educational philosophy are the instructional strategies I will employ in the classroom. One of the first things that I will have to be aware of as an educator is to know when my activities are teacher-centered and student-centered. Some lessons and concepts will most likely have to be teacher-centered. However, the majority of activities that I teach should be student-centered. Otherwise, my class will depend on me to give information instead of using methods to find information themselves. As a teacher, I should be scaffolding more than directing more. I will also have to balance the amount of activities that are individual and cooperative. As a student myself, I prefer working alone, however, I am also aware that there will be situations that will require me to work with several people. Likewise, there will be students who prefer working in groups, but will have to learn how to work by themselves. Therefore, a balance must be established so that children recognize that their preferred working style is fine to have, but there are also times when we must do the opposite as well. As far as student requirement, the only aspect I will require is for every student to do the best that they can. Each student is different, and it is unfair to place the one requirement on all of them.