In order to teach honestly, I feel that I have needed to get to know myself first; to get to know my own core beliefs and goals. Only after I know myself can I know what and how I need to teach. The reasons that I have become an educator stem largely from my experiences in the classroom as an adult, and from my childhood educational history.

As a child, I changed elementary schools seven times. In each school, I was a minority either due to my ethnicity or to my socio-economic level. Despite so many transitions, school was my sanctuary from an often chaotic home life. I remember clearly how these factors affected me, and I now strive to help my own students to find such safe comfort in school. I was able to use education to improve my life, and I work hard to help my students find their own positive ways, utilizing education as a means of getting there. I feel strongly that I must teach students the lingua franca; the skills that I learned to interact successfully in society; how to speak the multiple languages that we face on a daily basis while maintaining our culture, our selves, and our dignity. I advocate for them, seeking support in areas where I see that there is a need, and helping them to learn to advocate for themselves. Students require guidance toward the tools they need to be successful as adults in our society. I work to show my students how to use these tools, letting them practice their use in a safe environment, allowing them to own the tools and to adapt them for their own use. It is important to allow students to be themselves, to be individuals with their own thoughts and ideas. I agree with the principle of least intervention, not doing for kids that which they can do themselves 1. As Gene Edgar stated, "don't do a disservice to anyone by taking away their right to independence and to learn to do the things they need".2 As the Chinese proverb says, "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime." and after this concept, I model my teaching.

I have looked deeply into what I believe in order to be the best teacher that I can. I get to know my students; to find out what they know, who they are, what they like, where they live, and where they come from. I adapt my curriculum to include multiple types of teaching; with something relevant to every student. I differentiate instruction, providing opportunities for all students to have daily successes, scaffolding learning to help them grasp concepts and progress. I include authentic learning experiences throughout my teaching. I helped very diversely-abled first and second graders to understand advanced concepts by feeling, discussing, and using their own questions and interests to guide their learning experiences. In my teaching, I change, adapt, and strive to be better always; honing, learning from each student, each experience, each setting. Being honest, telling students the truth about what I know and don't know, but being strong and safe, maintaining authority, reliability,3 that is my job. This honesty is imperative; it would be unfair and unwise to underestimate children's intuition, and I always continue learning along with my students, from my research and from the students themselves.

Such experiences and reflection have shaped the teacher that I have become, guiding my choices and giving substance to why I have chosen this path.

>> All Students Can Learn >>