Make a Quality Decision

“…there are some principles, some decisions we should make about how we are going to go about our work that should be set in the bedrock of our hearts…”

A famous preacher once defined a quality decision as “one about which there is no more discussion, and from which there is no retreat.”  That’s how I believe every classroom teacher should feel about her/his basic philosophy of teaching.

Many of us are asked to write a personal philosophy of teaching as part of our teacher preparation program work. Often they are idealistic, hopeful, and sometimes impractical.

But there are some principles, some decisions we should make about how we are going to go about our work that should be set in the bedrock of our hearts before we meet our students, before we know who our administrators are going to be, before our first parent/teacher conference.  These are anchors that will steady us during those rough days, when we’re teaching through tears and clenched teeth.

I wrote my philosophy of teaching when I switched careers from journalism, as a 30-ish mother of four, near the end of my traditional teacher prep program. As I do every summer, I look back at it as I reflect on the past school year and prepare for the next. I still stand by it and on it; it hangs on my wall and lives in my work. This is my quality decision about teaching.

My Teaching Philosophy

Every child can learn; every child deserves my respect and my best professional efforts.

I will strive to maintain my sense of humor and allow my students the freedom to smile, to laugh, and to respectfully disagree with me.

I am my students’ friend, not their peer.

I can learn new things from my students.

My primary teaching goal is to enable and to encourage students to communicate effectively.

My lessons and methods shall be student-centered.

I will grade fairly and firmly.

Classroom time is to be used for students to learn, not for me to catch up on other things.

I will be well-prepared for each class.

I wholeheartedly encourage and seek parental involvement. Parents are always welcome in my classroom, and they may see their child’s work or ask about their child’s progress at any time.

I will strive to cooperate as much as possible with my colleagues on the faculty, the administration, and other school personnel.

I will continually seek to grow spiritually, intellectually, and professionally.

I will “build a fence around the playground.”

Mrs. Renee Moore

July 1, 1990

Do you have a philosophy of teaching? (Formally written or not) Would you share it with us?


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  • BillIvey

    I love this!

    Your teaching philosophy strikes me as simultaneously a model that can inspire reflection in other teachers and insight into who you are and how that made you so successful at what you do and a strong voice in the profession. Thanks for sharing it.

    I rewrote my own teaching statement nearly from scratch earlier this summer as I assembled an electronic portfolio for my school. The opening quote is the same, most of the underlying principles are the same, but the words are different. It starts like this:

    Beginning in Wonder

    All learning begins in wonder.
    – Michael Muir-Harmony, Co-Director of Full Circle School, paraphrasing Aristotle

    There’s a photograph of me holding my son Kian shortly after his birth. I’m looking down at him and he’s looking up at me, and while you can’t tell exactly what either of us is thinking, you can tell we’re each taking in every detail we can. I of course had an advantage in knowing in advance he was going to be born and in having fallen in love with him before he ever had a clue I existed (beyond being a faintly muffled voice, if one of the more frequently heard). But as I held him and wondered at how much I loved him without really knowing him yet, I also wondered who he would be, and resolved that whatever else happened, I would support him in being the best possible person he could, and true to his authentic self.

    (you can read the rest of it here if you are interested)