Scott Lackie [lackiescott]
What subjects do you teach? What types of students do you have?
Currently I am enrolled in Juniour/intermediate for history but I eventually hope to teach in a Special Education Classroom or as a resource teacher.
How have your past experiences prepared you for teaching? How did you become interested in education?
My past experiences have been a great at helping to prepare me for teaching. Mostly I have experience working in the Special needs field. These experiences have been very unique and taught me many things. Primarily I have learnt that all students are different. Not every student has the same needs or the same learning technique as the other. You canít use the same teaching method for all students and expect great results. Each student needs their own learning style considered in order for them to grow. Also from this work experience I have learnt to always stay upbeat and positive when teaching. Students will notice when you are being negative and it could hurt their education. Remaining positive is always the best solution. It was from this experience that I first learnt I wanted to get into education.
What is your educational philosophy?
My Educational philosophy revolves around creating the perfect balance between having fun and following the curriculum in my classroom. To me it is important for students to enjoy coming to school everyday. My goal is to be able to joke around with my students and make them all feel comfortable. That being said it is very important to balance having fun with getting schoolwork done. It will be important to set up this balance in the classroom, so students will know when it is time to get serious and work hard. Meanwhile they will know when it is time to be a little silly and have some fun. Another part of this is creating lesson plans that are interactive and enjoyable for the students. My goal is to follow the curriculum in a fun and motivating way that will keep the students engaged. This includes focusing on literature, problem solving and experiments that the students can relate to.
What is the most challenging aspect of teaching for you?
The most challenging aspect of teaching to me is assessments. I think assessing studentís work is the most difficult part of teaching and requires the most attention and time. A teacher needs to make sure that adequate time is taken to grades papers and the method is fair to all students. One of the most important things is to make sure that all students are treated equal. Just because a student did bad on the last test does not mean he will do poorly on the next one. Teachers need to leave prejudice behind when they grade papers and treat each paper individually. That being said it is also important to differentiate your assessments and give opportunities for students that struggle with writing papers or tests another chance to demonstrate their knowledge and get their grades up. Some students have a lot of difficulty doing the normal type of testing. Therefore I believe that assessments need to be differentiated to accommodate all learners, giving everyone an opportunity to show that they understand and are ready to move on.
What kind of relationship do you have with your students?
One of the most important parts of teaching is the ability to build great rapport with your students. Students need to feel safe, safe to be themselves, safe to try even if they might make a mistake, within their classroom and with their teacher. A teacher builds great rapport with their students by being both supportive and caring towards their students. Teachers need to show interest in their students and get to know their likes and dislikes. If a student trusts their teacher they are more likely to listen during class and take in more of what they are being taught.
What is the secret to instilling interest in knowledge?
The secret to instilling interest in knowledge is to implement two things in your classroom. First it is to make the content relevant to studentsí lives. An example of this is in math class, to use rich problems on topics that students can relate to and are interested in. If your questions interest the students and make them want to answer the questions this is great. Students should be motivated to come in and work hard; as well teachers should motivate this too. This leads into the second thing, which is to make sure students understand why they are in school. If a student understands that they are building life skills and working towards their future, they will be more motivated to do well. Sometimes students get lost in school when they think that school has nothing for them. It is important to make sure you motivate your students with high expectations.
What is your philosophy on homework and grading?
My philosophy on homework is that it is appropriate for students to be doing homework regularly but not for grades. Students need to get into a habit of doing homework and working on their learning skills before they get to high school. Doing homework is an important life skill for students to gain from school. That being said I do not believe in grading pieces of homework. This is mostly because a teacher cannot trust if the student did the homework completely by himself or herself. We all know that parents love to write their students projects so teachers need to be wary of this.
As far as grading goes I believe that it is important to mark all students on an equal level. Teachers need to be as objective as possible and treat each assignment individually, different from any previous work. But I also believe that accommodations need to be given to any students that need it. Differentiated learning can take place during a test to give students who are struggling the scaffolding they need to demonstrate what they know. These marks will not be treated the same as other students marks who didnít get the help but they will still be assessed.
How do you establish authority? What do you do when a discipline problem arises?
Keeping authority in your classroom should not be so much of an issue in modern day classrooms. Students should be given the authority to help run and influence class. Using this kind of democratic model of a classroom is very effective for creating a great classroom environment. It takes away the power struggle between the students and the teacher that can waste so much class time. That being said the teacher still needs to be able to discipline students if a real problem arises. IF a real problem does arise teachers need to use logical consequences. These logical consequences need to make sense to the negative behavior and also need to given directly after the issue. If a teacher reprimands a student but doesnít set the consequence right away it may not make sense to the student. The student may not be able to connect the punishment with his negative behavior. Also just as a side note I will not be a teacher that relies on the administrative to help with discipline. Sending a student down the principles office will be the last effort to alleviate a negative behavior.
How do you individualize your teaching? How do you handle the different ability levels of students in classes?
Individualizing your teaching is a very important thing for teachers to do. Every student is of varying ability and needs to get appropriate treatment. One way I try to adapt to different student needs is to use good scaffolding while teaching lessons. I always check in on my students that need more help and/or are having difficulty to make sure they understand the material. On the flip side I try to challenge the more gifted students so that they are always being pushed to progress more. Also in my preparation I try to set up my lessons to fit all different student needs. I always keep a large schedule up on the blackboard so students who need to know the routine can keep informed. Another technique I use is to differentiate the assignments so that all student interests are met. For this reason it is very important to know your students in your classrooms.
What are some ways you have incorporated technology into the classroom.
Technology is going to continue playing more and more of an influential role in classrooms. There are many benefits to this increase in technology found in classrooms. For one it can make the job of the teacher more effective. The ability to blow up books/pages with the document camera is a major time saver for communicating effectively. Also through the use of powerpoint presentations and other multimedia teachers can engage students in new and innovative ways. Students are also using technology more and more in school. More and more students are being asked to create powerpoint presentations as assignments. They are also asked to create blogs, webcasts, fake Facebook pages for marks. These new assignments based on technology are a great way to engage students and hopefully keep them interested.