The following posts have been individually constructed from my personal teaching philosophy document. This post is the final part in my teaching philosophy series.
This series is a 9 part journey that encapsulates the experiences that form my teaching philosophy. While longer than most, the narrative nature of my teaching philosophy has been a reflective practice that forced me to revisit several key periods of my life, each with influential lessons that would ultimately shape who I would become as an educator.
The full series and links to their “post” can be found below:
- Part 1, My introduction
- Part 2, Navigating my path to university
- Part 3, Pursuing university via the Enriched Support Program
- Part 4, Life after graduation
- Part 5, Exploring experiential learning and creative thinking
- Part 6, Shaky foundations
- Part 7, Revolutionizing library instruction by uniting robots and dinosaurs
- Part 8, Reflection is required for learning
- Part 9, Summarizing the lessons of my teaching philosophy
So, we’ve made it to the end!
My teaching philosophy is fundamentally shaped by my personal journey through higher education and beyond. Despite initially feeling like an outsider in the academic realm, this experience has driven my unique approach to teaching. Embracing my identity as a non-traditional and non-stereotypical librarian has allowed me to explore innovative methods in the classroom, approach information literacy with transparency, and remain open to self-reflection when venturing into uncharted territory. These qualities foster enduring connections between educators and students.
My 10 lessons for teaching
At this time, my teaching philosophy revolves around the following lessons I’ve learned throughout my time as a student, staff, and librarian. Those lessons include:
- Lesson 1: Don’t force yourself into a mold for other people, find what interests you.
- Lesson 2: A strong foundation of support is important for academic success.
- Lesson 3: When you find your passion, things work better.
- Lesson 4: Good enough is good enough to start.
- Lesson 5: Anything new has potential risks, we do not grow without risks.
- Lesson 6: Embrace the risk of failure, good things come from it.
- Lesson 7: Learning can be fun!
- Lesson 8: A shaky foundation stands in the way of a successful end product.
- Lesson 9: Regardless of the quality of advanced research instruction, if foundational skills are lacking or flawed, the final product is at risk of being a failure.
- Lesson 10: Reflection is important for continuous growth and learning.
Moreover, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the information landscape is undergoing rapid transformation. As Judy Luther aptly noted, “Like it or not, Google and its competitor search engines have created a model that librarians, as information providers, must confront head-on… It’s time for librarians to recognize that library users do not aspire to become more like us” (Luther, 2003).
The future of this teaching philosophy
The challenge of a professional teaching philosophy is that it should, in theory, be never ending. It becomes a living document that grows over time. Since “completing” my teaching philosophy in late November, I have already began revising earlier “chapters” and even adding a new one titled, Dismantling deficit thinking.
Edits to earlier chapters include Exploring experiential learning and creative thinking where I failed to mention an influential YouTube video that I watched during my time as a Master’s student created by a young content creator named ACtennisAC titled Minecraft Redstone Escalator. This video would be foundational in my understanding of games as a powerful tool for teaching. I am linking the video here.
Over the course of the past week, I found myself recollecting a meaningful conversation I shared with my Nonno (Italian for grandfather) in 2005. Although my reflections on this conversation are still a work in progress and have not yet been published, its importance has endured throughout the years. Remarkably, the impact of that exchange continued to echo in my mind over a decade later as I delved into the pages of a paper titled “The Ph.D. Octopus” by William James, dating back to 1903, within Harvard Monthly.
Fundamentally, our teaching methodologies are molded by the stories of our experiences. Personally, I deemed it crucial to encapsulate not only the lessons gleaned but also the narrative woven through those experiences. This is the essence of why my teaching philosophy extends at length—it is a chronicle of my educational journey, crafted with the aspiration that others find pleasure in perusing its pages. Even if it doesn’t resonate with everyone, the narrative has proven indispensable in understanding my unique approach to teaching.
- Luther, J. (2003). Trumping Google? Metasearching’s Promise. (cover story). Library Journal, 128(16), 36–39.
My teaching philosophy was designed and influenced by the guide from Western University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning titled Writing a teaching philosophy statement.