Students as Community Members
It is about this time that many pre-service teachers are beginning or returning to their classrooms for their student-teaching experience. As you do so, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your personal teaching philosophy and what you hope to imbue in your students. Specifically, I encourage you to think about the importance of citizenship, responsibility, and community action. Your students are part of communities, many of which they define themselves, and all of which are larger than themselves. As effective educators, we seek to identify these communities and encourage our students to think critically about their place in a larger context.
Consider these questions:
- How do your students define their communities? (think about how you define yours)
- In what ways do you support and promote students' membership in those communities?
- In what ways do you challenge your students to give back to their communities?
- How does your teaching philosophy promote development of students as community members?
Engaging your students as community members is a commitment beyond the classroom to do what is best for your students while encouraging them to do what is best for others. Being able to discuss citizenship, responsibility, and community action in the context of your classroom instruction can set you apart from the pack when applying for teaching positions. Incorporating the virtues of engaged citizenry and community participation into your teaching philosophy demonstrates both care for your students and their experiences while promoting responsibility and civic engagement. Education employers often tout these virtues as critical to student success so aim for that mark. You will find it beneficial both for the success of your job search and for the success of your students.
Eric A. Hucker
Graduate Assistant | Education Career Services
University of Missouri | Columbia, Missouri