Growing up, I was an ardent reader and one of my all-time favorite writings remains to be a book by Dr. Pearle (1999). This piece of work reflects on the power of positive thinking and how a positive mindset can actually transform even the dreariest situations. Through his writing, I realized that the most significant step I would ever take towards introducing positive change into the world was through teaching people to embrace positive thinking. The most efficient way to do this for me was through being an educator and for this reason I chose education as my profession. I believe the best way to shape or influence a mindset is teaching children right from an early age, on the essence of the same. Today, this forms my primary goal as an educator.
A profession in education is actually tailor-made for me since I possess certain key attributes and traits that are regarded as essential for an educator. To begin with, teaching is fundamentally different from other careers since it involves great amounts of dedication, patience and tolerance. It is the ideal profession for me since I am very dedicated towards service. I derive so much satisfaction in knowing that by imparting knowledge and skills to my students, I become a positive influence on their lives. I am a proficient communicator and I am also a very good listener. These are some of the most important traits that an educator should possess and it therefore makes me the ideal candidate to be in the education profession. Granted, being an educator is an extremely time consuming profession and it involves a lot of reading in order to be up to speed with current issues and developing knowledge. Luckily, I am an ardent reader and I have actually turned it to a hobby.
My own experience in learning has also influenced the structure of my goals to a very considerable extent. This is because at the earlier stages of my studies, my performance was usually average and I was generally not keen on making excellent grades. I was content with average. Surprisingly, it only took the remarks of one teacher to change this perception completely. My middle school English teacher once referred to one of my writings as “creative and brilliant” and that was my turning point. I realized that his encouraging words not only motivated me to be better, but also tuned my mind to a positive belief that I could actually achieve excellent grades. This experience now shapes one of my primary goals as an educator, which is to influence a positive mindset in my students. My other key goal in this profession is to impact knowledge and important life skills to my students in order to help them become productive members of the society.
My philosophy of education
In order to realize my goals as an educator, it is incumbent upon me to have a clearly defined philosophy that guides my practice and teaching. “Typically, philosophy involves the critical analysis and application of reflective thought processes to the problems and general condition of humankind” (Scicluna, 2012). In her work, Scicluna opines that “a clearly defined philosophy of education is something that every educator should cultivate, and it can contribute to overall quality of life for individuals going forward”. She defines the philosophy of education through an analysis of the works of renowned philosophers.
John Locke, who was one of the most influential philosophers, for instance propounded the philosophy that all people and classes of men should have access to higher education. Locke advocated for the development of the body and the character as well as the intellect. In her analysis, Scicluna subsequently highlights the Montessori philosophy as a more innovative philosophy in education. She posits that “this approach advocates experimentation, and the child is given a great amount of latitude”. The theory is clearly a departure from the educational philosophies that preceded it and Dr. Montessori reckoned that giving children autonomy in their educational experience allows their “true nature” to shine through. John Dewey (1859-1952) also propounded an important philosophy of education whose effects are far reaching up to date. He looked at learning as active and termed the existing nature of schooling as “unnecessarily long and restrictive” (Neill, 2005).
Dewey’s philosophy was that children go to school to join a community that gives them real experience to advance their capacity to contribute to society. He was therefore of the opinion that teaching should involve the actual participation of children in real-life situations to illustrate what is learnt in class.
That stated, my philosophy as an educator borders closely on Dewey’s and Montessori’s philosophies. As an educator my philosophy is that learning should not only take a one-dimensional approach where the teacher simply instructs on the theoretical aspects of a syllabus. Rather, teaching should involve actual training on application of the knowledge gained in class. The other angle of my philosophy is that I should primarily influence my students to take up a positive mindset since it opens up the mind to learning and gaining knowledge and instills belief that they are actually capable of using it to make to impact change in the society.
It is important to note that the education profession like most other professions may present certain ethical challenges. Ethical challenges refer to the problems that arise from the difficulty to make a decision between what is termed by the society as being either right or wrong. As an educator, the ethical issues that may arise in the course of the profession include first of all, addressing one’s personal interests in the profession. For example where one may have a relative or friend being one of their students, one may be inclined to make preferential treatment to the relative. This is of course unethical and it is therefore important to know where to draw the line between self interest and professional standard.
Another illustration would be where as an educator, one may get tempted to compromise on the standard of the services offered. This would occur for instance when the work load is heavy and there are strict deadlines to be met. In this instance, it would be unethical to offer sub-standard service in a bid to clear the workload. The last illustration I will draw is in relation to corrupt practices. In an educator’s profession, it is very likely that a person will at some point be offered a bribe by a student, parent or other third party in order to do something in their favor. In such an instance, it would be highly unethical to engage in such a corrupt act.
My idea of avoiding all unethical practices that may arise is by adhering strictly to the professional code of conduct in place in the various institutions I’ll be working at. In addition, I strive to adhere to a personal code of conduct to prevent myself from falling prey to any unethical practices. The importance of adhering to the ethical standards in place is that it promotes a sense of fairness in the teaching service offered. It ensures that all the students get fair treatment and benefit equally from the educator. Further, it enables one to be credible in the eyes of the students since they do feel that one offers preferential treatment to a specific individual or group.
In summary, education is my professional career of choice primarily for the positive impact it helps me make on society. It provides me with an avenue to influence my students to adopt a positive mindset and to live by desirable societal values. In spite of the ethical challenges that may arise in the course of the work, I remain committed to the values and ethical standards of the profession and strive to attain the highest standards of the profession.
My philosophy as an educator is that education should have a two-faced approach, where students are taught both the theoretical aspects and a practical aspect of the study. This helps the students to understand how to apply the knowledge acquired in class. I therefore strive to make the best of my profession by applying this philosophy to achieve my overall goal of making a positive impact on my students.