Educational Philosophy

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August 2, 2011 by k. liz

So, I’m at my in-laws currently, where my husband and I have stored many of our things while we’ve been out of the country. It is interesting to come back and to see all the things that I’d forgotten about for a year. Something I just came across this morning was my “Philosophy of Education” essay that I had to write while I was in University. It started me thinking again. Some of my thoughts have . . . not necessarily changed, but maybe they’ve been refined since I’ve left University.

I attended a Christian University, and many of the educational majors were being trained for private Christian education. Much of my philosophy of education was centered around teaching kids about God, Jesus, and how He would change their life. But, I am not teaching at a private Christian school. So . . . where does that leave my educational philosophy? Well, here are just a few thoughts on it for this morning. I’d love to hear what shapes your philosophy and how that plays out in the classroom.

  • First of all, based on teaching in the Bible, and based on the fact that I am accountable to someone that is not only bigger than this world, but created and holds this world together, I feel that I am responsible to be the absolute best teacher that I can be. My philosophy pushes me to strive for excellence. 
  • Secondly, I believe that what anyone believes effects their eschatology – their view of what will happen at the end of the world – and that eschatology must of necessity change they way that they live presently. My eschatology leads me, in education, to see that the world will not exist this way forever. Therefore, I don’t really know how much time I have to make a difference in this world. This causes me to live each day with an urgency and a dedication to doing things now while we have the opportunity. My philosophy pushes me to go hard and fast in the classroom to prepare students for whatever great things they may be able to do in their lifetime. 
  • Finally (for this morning) because I am a Christian, because I have experienced an indescribable love from my Jesus, there is no way that I can live and not work to share that love with others. As I am striving to live up to the example that Jesus has given me, his standard of perfection, I cannot escape learning to love fully and unconditionally as he did. My philosophy pushes me to truly love and care for my students with patience. 
What shapes your philosophy?
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3 thoughts on “Educational Philosophy

  1. sariil says:

    In my English class this past year, we did a project regarding education reformation. Some expressed that the public school system could be viewed as a factory: People aren’t treated like individuals, knowledge is constantly pushed into people’s heads. And it’s all to prepare them for…what, exactly? I’m curious, do you think this is true? Would you say that it’s true of just public schools? Private? Maybe both?

    • k. liz says:

      Interesting comment! I do think it is true. I think that it is true in almost every school that exists, because there are teachers out there who view teaching as a job. I personally view teaching as a calling, something I love, something I can’t imagine not doing. Because of that, I see my students as people that I am helping, nurturing, teaching, and in turn learning from. The money isn’t what drives me, it’s the thrill of education. I worked at a public school for a very short time while I was in university and I saw both kinds of teachers in the same school. I saw a teacher who valued her students as people and did everything she could to help them succeed. Then, I followed those same students into another classroom where there was a teacher who was there to get her paycheck.
      I do think that educational philosophy plays into this a lot. If you look at societies in the world, you will see a lot of societies that are adopting humanism as the preferred ideology in their media, their literature, etc. Humanism will never reform education because it teaches people to look out for themselves, take care of #1. How can that ideology behoove me to teach in a way that will most benefit my students? I am a Christian. I believe that what I believe is really true, and it forces me to live differently. My life isn’t about what I want, or what I can get – it’s about becoming part of a bigger story that God is writing in the world. That pushes me to truly care for my students. I know that it’s not only Christianity that fosters these ideas and these character traits, but they are present in many religions and movements. I think that maybe that is why private schools tend to not be seen as “factories” as much as public schools, because generally private schools have a bigger purpose, or some other bond such as religion or charity or goals.
      At the same time, there are Christian teachers and other teachers in public schools with an others-focused educational philosophy who I think are amazing and excellent teachers. I’m sorry this is long – I hope it answers your question. I think it comes down to whether or not someone is teaching for himself and what he can get out of it, or if he is teaching as part of a bigger story, a bigger goal, and a bigger purpose.

  2. sariil says:

    That’s a very thorough and thoughtful response. I’m glad to hear from teachers who truly care about their students and the job they are doing!

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