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“I like a teacher who gives you something to think about besides homework.” -Edith Ann (Lily Tomlin)

I believe teachers should teach students how to think. Teachers should equip students with the tools they need to succeed in life. Teaching students to think may seem obvious, but as standardized testing continues to rise, critical thinking and analysis are pushed to the side. Students need these skills not only for college, but for life.

My content area is English. Taking an English class is required in middle and high school. Students have to take Common Core exams and Regents. Teachers are required to prep students for these tests. Working to prepare students for standardized tests detracts from the rest of the curriculum and experiential learning. Student frustration with the material coupled with teacher frustration is compounded by stress in students’ lives. I want students to enjoy coming to my class and learn something they will carry with them for a lifetime. I want to push my students to think critically and be analytical of the world around them.

Collaborative learning is a huge essential to getting students to think. I cannot speak for other subjects, but I believe English is a subject that must involve discussions and ideas. A traditional “desks in rows” set-up does not foster deep discussions. If a student is struggling with the text, they have to be singled out and raise their hand. A table set-up in my classroom would allow the other students to help their struggling peer, which in turn strengthens their understanding of the text by forcing them to explain. Students will work independently for essays, but will mostly participate in group discussion and readings.

Students engage more when they can connect material to their own life. Specifically, with high school students, many will not be engaged unless they see “what it can do for them.” I will implement relatable texts and texts with relatable themes for high school students. This will help students see the relevance of the material and remember it. Varying teacher choice and student choice of texts will help students remain engaged and interested.

As a future teacher, I want to connect with my students. I want to take an interest in their lives and show them that I care about them growing as a student and as a person. Building a stronger relationship with my students will allow me to learn more about their likes, dislikes, and things I can change in the way I teach. Teachers and their students are supposed to grow together as the year progresses, learning more about each other and building a bond. Building relationships with your students also makes the classroom fun! There is respect coming from both sides and everyone wants to be there. I want to be a teacher that students can come to long after they graduate. I want students to remember the skills they learned in my class for years to come.





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Ashley Harris
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