Personal Statement on Education
Through my years of experience in teacher education, I have learned how to be diverse and inclusive in my classroom. I expect to have children of all talent levels and all sorts of backgrounds. I am excited to incorporate these differences and create a “salad bowl” atmosphere of a community rather than the American view of diversity: the melting pot. With a melting pot, each difference is jumbled together and creates one homogeneous outcome. With a salad bowl, each ingredient sticks out and has their place in making the salad whole and delicious! I think one way of celebrating diversity within my classroom would be to help incorporate current events with different cultures. It’s important to focus on culture and human experiences within history more than facts so students have an understanding of why things happen and the cultures / backgrounds behind those reasons. Obenchain and Morris argue that, “one key in moving social studies learning from the memorization of disconnected names, dates, and facts to a meaningful understanding of important issues in the human experience is to organize studies around concepts.” Culture and backgrounds are big catch all for big concepts like: religion, music, food, art, appearances, languages and more.
I also believe that I am able to teach my students responsibility and respect for one another in the classroom. A great way I have seen this play out would be with the creation of classroom rules through democratic settings. By allowing students their voice in what happens and what is not allowed lets them feel more included and less of a “prisoner” with rules out to catch them slipping up. By, “linking the creation of classroom rules with the larger society’s navigation of balancing individual rights with the public or common good allows students to see the challenge of developing fair rules in the world beyond the classroom.” (Obenchain & Morris, 2014). When students are able to see real world examples, they’re more likely to understand and connect with what’s happening. This also provides a base for students to use in the future when learning and dealing with new rules and responsibilities.
From growing up in my generation, technology was almost always present. In school, I remember learning how to type, rather than learning how to write cursive. Technology was expected to be the new movement. As I’ve grown older, technology has only been improved and incorporated into everyday life more. Because of this, classrooms are able to have a lot of more resources that weren’t available even just a few years ago. There are websites that offer thousands upon thousands of resources for any and almost every subject. So, “as more classrooms and students have relatively easy access to the Internet, WebQuests are increasing in popularity… A WebQuest synthesizes the use of the Internet, self-paced learning, inquiry experiences, and, sometimes, a bit of a scavenger hunt. They are completely self-contained…” (Obenchain & Morris, 2014). Students these days have also had technology their whole lives, but those gadgets are way more advanced than what I can recall. Children are able to navigate the Internet in advanced ways and teachers should definitely use that chance for improvement of their teaching. Professional development courses, lesson plans, education videos and more are available as well online. Another key reason technology skills are essential today is in response to situations like the Covid-19 pandemic. Having an online resource available for students can give teachers a way to remotely teach their students!
By analyzing these key factors for an excellent social studies teacher, I believe that I exemplify these criteria. Through my dedication to diversity and inclusion, respect and responsibility and implementation of online resources, I plan on creating a welcoming and happy environment for my students. I hope that my efforts with technology can benefit students in ways not possible before and that students will want to come to my class and learn