Who inspires you? We all have someone who inspires us, pushes us, and helps to shape our paths. Many of us chose to study education because of the many positive and negative experiences that we may have had in school. Whether it be a teacher who pushed you in ways you had not been pushed before or a teacher who made you feel so terrified to go to school, someone motivated you. Those experiences motivated me to go into education, but it is the philosophers and professors that truly shaped my path.
“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow” – John Dewey
This quote from John Dewey has motivated me through much of my studies in becoming a teacher. He has shocked me and surprised me in his impact on education. From strong teacher to student relationships to project-based learning, his beliefs touch it all.
In my experiences in the field, when a student respects the teacher or likes the teacher they are more likely to show interest in the classroom. For example, in a previous classroom, I had a student who had behavioral issues and because of his respect for my cooperating teacher, she was the only teacher with the ability to bring out small moments of sheer interest in whatever the class was doing at the time.
Project-Based Learning (PBL)
John Dewey believed in an education where children learn by doing, and they learn how to think critically to prepare them for real-life situations, trades, and democracy. Project-based learning encourages this belief. Most of the classrooms we sat in for a majority of our education were spent with lectures, worksheets, and very little hands-on or discussion-based activities. It is said that, after 24 hours, on average students only remember 5% of what was lectured (Himmele, 2017, p. 7). More discussion, hands-on structured classes are more effective in learning.
Motivation is another aspect of teaching that has intrigued me. How can I motivate my students the best? Dr. Hanicke from the foundation block motivated me to look at the psychology of education more. Dr. Hanicke taught me the critical role that motivation plays on a child’s learning. According to Trif and Petrovan (2011), motivating students is a key component of classroom management and in order to acquire efficiency in all learning activity teachers have to keep motivation in mind (p. 292). I want my students to want to learn, which has motivated me and inspired me to constantly do my best in all aspects.
My professors in my STEM classes are the ones who push me and share new insights with me every week. I love STEM, but I fear it because it challenges me. I am very passionate about the importance of STEM integration in education, but STEM can be very scary. Dr. Warner once said in class that fear is the driving factor in decision making, which is why many teachers do not go out of their comfort zone. STEM can be scary and so can school administrators. With that being said, I am thankful I have professors who push me to try new things for the sake of my future students.
So, what does this all mean? Role models can help us become better teachers. They will help us learn what kind of teachers we want to be. My classroom will be driven by John Dewey, Rita Pierson, Dr. Primus, Dr. Hanicke, and many more. We need to have a wide array of educational viewpoints, philosophies, pedagogies, and teaching methods thrown at us so that we can be inspired and then inspire our students as well. Inspiration drives us and motivates us.
Check out the video that has motivated me the most!
Himmele Pérsida, & Himmele, W. (2017). Total participation techniques: making every student an active learner. Alexandria, VA, USA: ASCD.
Trif, L., & Petrovan, R. Ş. (2011). Student Motivation, Component of Classroom Management. Journal Plus Education / Educatia Plus, 7(2), 292–298.