Some things never change.
I started working at the newspaper in Indianola, Miss., The Enterprise-Tocsin, 15 years ago this month.
And because I started working there in mid-August, among the first stories I got to do were the annual new-teacher profiles, which was convenient, because they were very easy stories to do. We gave the school districts a questionnaire to have each teacher fill out, and then typed up their responses.
Most of it was fairly straightforward — name, hometown, education background, previous teaching experience, etc.
But there was question that was designed to be more open-ended, to allow the teachers to show some of their individual personality.
Or so we thought.
What we didn’t realize was that the question had a correct answer.
The question was, “What is your philosophy of teaching?”
We had believed that each teacher would have their own personal philosophy. But it turns out, while there are the occasional renegades here and there, there apparently is one correct philosophy of teaching.
To illustrate this, allow me to share some selected passages from responses in a recent edition of The Enterprise-Tocsin — again, a full decade and a half after I first started typing up this response:
“My philosophy on teaching is that all people are life long learners and that all students have the capability to learn.” — Travis Dent
“I believe in every child and that every child has the ability to learn.” — Natasha Dew
“I believe that all children have the ability to learn regardless of their learning style and their rate of learning.” — Linda Jones-Scales
“My teaching philosophy is that every child can learn and they are our future leaders.” — Felicia Brooks
“My teaching philosophy is that every child can learn and with the right amount of motivation from a teacher and effort on their end, they can succeed in any classroom.” — Kevin Phillips
“I believe each student is a person who wants and deserves to learn.” — Kristina Meyer
“My teaching philosophy is the all students can learn, and that effective teachers can teach all students.” — Donna Marie Donald
“Every one can learn.” — Rebecca Kellner
“My philosophy of teaching is that all students can learn.” — Venetia Dunbar
“I believe every child is unique and different and can learn if we, as educators, take them down an adventurous and innovate path to learning.” — Valerie Stovall
I wish I’d kept the previous week’s edition, which had more teachers just stating directly, “I believe all students can learn” in so many words, but the theme is still very much apparent in that collection.
And I’ve always wondered why it’s that way. Why is there one correct answer? Is it something that just occurs to all teachers naturally, or is there like an Education Philosophy 101 course dedicated entirely to teaching that one bit of data? Regardless, it appears that when it comes to that bit of philosophy, all teachers can learn.