~ 1 October, 2020 ~
My Educational Guru
My Role Model:
Whether you are a student or educator, there is more than likely one person in particular that has had a major impact on your career path. My biggest role model as an early educator is Melissa Forry; a first-grade teacher at Mount Wolf Elementary School in York, PA. I began shadowing her and helping out in her classroom as a freshman and have grown in so many ways through her insight, knowledge, and examples set in place within her classroom. The way Mrs. Forry structures and sets up her classroom helps me to further understand everything I learn in college and apply my knowledge. Over the years she has so graciously allowed me to come into her classroom and run small lessons with the students while she works with other groups. Doing so has stretched me as an educator and put me outside of my comfort zone to help me grow and learn how to apply my knowledge into how I teach and interact with the students. She is always there when I have questions and puts into perspective things that I am sometimes unsure of. Regardless of the questions I ask or the advice I go to her for, she always provides insight for me and gives me nothing but the truth Mrs. Forry has helped shape me into the student and educator I am today, and I aspire to be half as great as her.
Lev Vygotsky (1896- 1934) —
As we gain more and more experience and knowledge, our educational philosophies change or mold with new concepts to constantly improve. The main theorist whose pedagogies are shaping my path and educational philosophy is Lev Vygotsky. His biggest emphasis involved teaching within the students’ zone of proximal development (ZPD). This involves knowing what students are able to do with the help of a teacher and what they can do on their own. By carefully scaffolding the instruction and curriculum within a classroom, children are able to gain control over their learning and expand their abilities in terms of what they can do on their own. Vygotsky’s theory inspires me because I firmly believe that each student should be appropriately challenge in order to grow as a learner. Understanding the process of scaffolding provides me the ability to do just that in my future classrooms. By understanding Vygotsky’s ZPD and where each of my future students are in their learning, I am able to appropriately structure lessons and activities so that children can fully understand concepts and work to be able to master them with and without my help.
Read more about Lev Vygotsky here.
John Dewey (1859-1952) — Another theorist whose pedagogies I admire is that of John Dewey. His approach to learning through a child-centered curriculum. Dewey emphasizes the idea that education involves adults sharing life experiences to students when it applies to content so that they too can understand how to make real-world connections to learning within the classroom. Furthermore, child-centered instruction involves basing the starting point for lesson plans on the knowledge and interests that students hold. I admire this idea because I strongly feel as though students will not want to learn and learn as well if they are not interested in the content. Making content relate to students based on what they know or are interested in provides a personal aspect and motivates them to do their best because of this increase in interest. Dewey also emphasizes the importance of seeing the whole child, and not just their academic needs. As an educator, it is important to understand other aspects of students whether it be social-emotional, physical, or developmental needs.
Read more about John Dewey here.
The “Why” and the “How”:
When it comes to the why and the how of this field, the Early Childhood Education program at Millersville University goes above and beyond all expectations. Every professor and doctor I have had thus far for my major has been nothing but helpful. Whether learning about instructional strategies, differentiation, literacy and reading, or even culture and diversity every class provides the most necessary and beneficial information to ensure that all students are fully prepared for the actual classroom. All of the staff are fully supportive, helpful and caring; they want nothing but the absolute best for students. The students within this program also help in teaching the why and the how through small group projects, one-on-one interactions, and whole group discussions. I also work at KinderCare, and my other teachers in the classroom always provide helpful feedback and strategies so that I can improve myself as an educator and be the best that I possibly can.
When it comes to being an educator, self-reflection is crucial. Through not just reflecting on my strengths and areas of need, but my inspirations and gurus as well, allows me the ability to ensure that I stay on the path that I want and is the most beneficial. Observing those who inspire me the most whether role models or theorists, provides me the ability to improve everyday. I am able to improve as a student, as an educator, and as a person.
~Thank you for reading! ~