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Teaching Philosophy

From my five years of experience teaching at a four-year college, my teaching philosophy is “No student left behind,” meaning that each student in the classroom is valuable. I developed this belief when I taught my first microeconomics class at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. My preconceptions of students were realized during one class when I noticed a few students falling asleep. I reprovingly asked them why they were not studying when they were paying high tuition. One student softly answered that he worked full time to support his mother and brother and took classes at night. I realized then that I had to overcome my biases about students’ behaviors and, instead, pay attention to how to motivate them to continue their studies and to find their potential.

I believe the purpose of education is for students to achieve their ability and to discover their potential and it is the educator’s role to motivate them to find out for themselves. When they see how valuable they are, it is a great success as an educator. To help me in this endeavor, I applied for and received an OpenLab Associate Fellows fellowship from New York City College of Technology in 2015. This learning community provided meaningful seminars and discussions to achieve the goal of general education, such as deriving meaning from experience, gathering information from observation, using quantitative and qualitative analyses to describe and solve problems, and communicating in diverse settings and groups.

As an example of how I promoted what I learned from the fellowship, my macroeconomic students and I visited the Federal Reserve of New York in Manhattan. In this living laboratory, we learned about the Federal Reserve System and monetary policy. There are many other ways to increase class participation and instill a desire for learning, but this cannot occur without the educator’s own passion and determination for his students.

My teaching philosophy also requires educators to be patient with their students. This is not easy as we are often quick to judge our students based on their homework or test scores. We need to pay more attention to those who do not always receive the good grades and have them realize that we are paying attention to them.

In my experience, not all students are qualified to be students. It is easy to hold negative biases about students when some are rude or disrespectful. However, as a father myself, some of their behaviors remind me that “there is no such thing as bad children, only bad parents.” Similarly, “There is no such thing as bad students, only bad teachers.” Simply by being patient, however, transforms everything. Students begin to recognize who we are and why we are here and our attitude towards them reflects their value.