Dorothy M. Westenskow

Teaching Philosophy

As teachers we are entrusted with the future of our world -- the children. When children enter the school system, we, as teachers, will spend more time with them than do their parents. We must be prepared for that responsibility and be accountable for an educational process that involves more than book learning.
Teaching is more than presenting information to students. It is acting as a facilitator in the learning process. The academics taught in the classroom are of vital importance in preparation for higher education and working careers, and English is the basis for our communication. Students need a core of academic knowledge on which they can build for the future, and teachers need to do all they can to ensure accessibility to that knowledge. But teaching is more; while teaching in the subject matter, one of the greatest skills we can give students is the art of critical thinking. This is a skill that will enable students to learn beyond the school setting. Lesson plans and activities need to lead students up the ladder to higher learning skills and toward critical thinking. In addition, a teacher must also be prepared to help children understand social amenities, learn how to work cooperatively with others, and accept responsibility. Above all, we should try to instill a love of learning for learning's sake, not just for tangible rewards, and encourage the pursuit of knowledge for the sheer joy of acquiring knowledge.
Yet, teaching is still more than working with critical thinking, facilitating, and enhancing skills of co-operation. It is also nurturing -- a nurturing process that changes from child-to-child and grade-to-grade, a process that includes in its premise helping students achieve a positive self-image, a love of life, and a caring for all living things. Teaching is caring -- for each individual child as his own person and helping him develop to his fullest potential.