Heshimu Thomas’ Educational Philosophy
“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” ~ Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune
I could write pages on the positive images that I viewed in some K-12 teachers and even undergraduate professors who had a great influence on my decision to pursue the education profession. Their keen interest and having high expectations helped me develop into a caring and self-driven individual. Their persistent motivation encouraged me to strive for excellence and gave me a desire to think positive and have confidence in my beliefs and dreams. Just as my prior teachers seen a potential asset, I feel I needed to take the responsibility of teaching students that face obstacles to learn because you never know how bright their diamond will shine.
“In America, with education and hard work, it really does not matter where you came from; it matters only where you are going.” ~Dr. Condoleeza Rice
I have a belief that encompasses a holistic approach for obtaining maximum achievement for all learners regardless of their socio–economic status, community, or ethnicity. I feel they are capable of scholastic knowledge and abilities enhancement if they are motivated and directed by diversified educators. The learning environment needs to be safe from racial barriers and motives so that all individuals will perform to their fullest potential. I lean heavily on professionalism and value the prestige of education profession that is why I use various cultural activities to promote diversity. All learners inspite of labels attached to them by their ethnicity or community affiliations should be encouraged to have a strong will and desire for a better life. As an educator, I must instill in them the importance of setting realistic goals in order to obtain success because life without a purpose is life without a true meaning.
“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.” ~Confucius
Having been influenced by Paolo Freire’s theories on learning, I attempt to build classroom environment in which knowledge is shared rather than distributed, challenged rather than accepted, and experiential rather than abstracted. This environment is achieved through a heavy emphasis on my expectation that students will participate in class discussions and providing them with a creative methodology that is meaningful and realistic. I see myself as a facilitator of learning by encouraging students to be responsible for achieving academically and socially. Therefore, I take a constructivist view in that I believe students construct knowledge as they build new ideas upon prior knowledge. As an educator, I believe that critical thinking is one of the most important skills we can teach our students because it will enable them to become productive citizens. By realizing it is ideally and essential to engage myself to learn the current methodologies in teaching diverse learners, I can access students’ strengths and weaknesses and have the opportunity to use different forms of evaluation such as peer evaluations, self-evaluations, and authentic assessments or make modifications to the curriculum.