When you first start teaching you are often asked to provide a personal philosophy on teaching; you’ve done the study and you’ve had a few practical experiences, but you haven’t actually had a class of your own. How do you know exactly what your philosophy is? Regardless of this, you write a philosophy based on who you hope to become as a teacher, what the research tells you is best, and what you think people want to hear. Over time you start to develop your own teaching style and you realise what actually works, how to get the best results, and how to create an environment where every student thrives.
Obviously experience and knowledge play a vital role in developing a philosophy but I also think that it reflects a teacher’s personal values and approach to life. I am a very social personal and believe that relationships form a fundamental part of creating happiness, and when you are happy you subsequently feel more confident, are willing to take risks and are able to develop a vast array of qualities, both academic and social. So, building relationships with my students, their parents, my colleagues, and leaders has always been a fundamental part of my teaching practice and philosophy. It comes naturally to me to foster all of these relationships, and I honestly believe that this is one of the main reasons why students in my class have always thrived.
This past school year I tried something new to further foster my relationship with my class, I wanted to get to know the families better and develop a community feel within my classroom so, with the support of the parents we held two class outings. They both took place on Sunday afternoons and only lasted a few hours but the feedback was phenomenal, and I know it is something that the children will remember forever. We held the first outing at Dream Bowl, almost all 2Z families were able to attend and play alongside each other. It was a great opportunity for the parents to socialise with the other families while having fun with their children, the children to further develop their social skills, and for me to get to know everyone on a different level. The second outing, at Beach 38 sand volleyball courts, was just as successful and it was wonderful to see all the parents joining in the games and modeling great attitudes!
Although the outings took place on the weekend I was more than happy to give up a small amount of my time because I believe that relationships and communication skills are so important in our ever-changing world. Having the opportunity to work with the parents to model this was so rewarding and successful. Also, getting to know all the families at these social gatherings not only helped to develop trust between all parties but it played a huge part in developing the supportive community feel that I was aiming for. I can only hope that each year I can continue to develop new ways to promote healthy, happy relationships because once this trusting environment is created the learning outcomes multiply exponentially. And, at the end of the day all we ever want is to help develop happy, healthy children who have the skills to be successful in the future.