Equality is For ALL Not Some
My whole life I dreamed of becoming an educator for future generations. My passion for the arts in music and love for school libraries and education incorporated with these programs has brought me to further my education in both fields here at Kutztown University. After multiple job opportunities with teaching marching band and observing in public school libraries for all grades, I have learned so much when it comes to teaching; in fact I have created my own template when it comes to teaching. Many of my interviews concluded with one question; “What is your philosophy of Education?” Although in the beginning I was not sure what it entails or how I wanted to teach my students, I am now more confident with what I want after learning so much more about the philosophy of education in general from EDU 100.
I believe all students deserve an equal education opportunity, despite their background, race or gender. Many students today struggle to get a decent education when it comes to factors like a learning disability (10), gender expression (11) or their socio-economic class (13). In a world where we have evolved so much in each category, I personally think it is important to take in consideration of each field when it comes to working with different students. As stated in chapter one, multiple resources were put into place to ensure that students who identify with a disability were granted resources to help modify their education for their needs. The act put into place was called Individuals with Disability Act, or IDEA for short. In 1975 and revised multiple times over the years, this act was put into place to create equal public education opportunities for all students identified with a disability (10). The IDEA act has affected my family positively for we have children who identify with autism, dyslexia, cerebral palsy and other intellectual disabilities. The opportunities my younger brothers and sisters have gotten throughout the years have helped them succeed in school and feel equal to the students around them.
As a marching band teacher at Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Delaware, I was exposed to many different students of ethnicity, gender changes/beliefs and intellectual disability. Learning that each student was different in terms of talent and learning, I was able to appreciate how Cab Calloway offers a load of services for these students to make them feel equal and a part of humanity. One of the biggest services they offer to their students is support groups for the LGBT students. Today, date from 2016 stated that over 10 million people in America identfied as lesibian, gay, trans or queer; most of with are young teens to young adults (11). We live in a society where this type of lifestyle can be accepted by most, where then it wasn't. I'm proud to say that I work with a school who supports students of these identities, as well learn how unique each one of these students are.
Creating equal opportunities is an asset of my philosophy of education that I like to incorporate. The equality of students has come a long way in our history. Chapter two explains the history of equalizing education rights for all. Between the Civil Rights Act and desegregation in our schools, equal opportunity has come a long way. Starting in 1954, the rights to desegregated education “on equal terms”. The Brown vs. Board of education of Topeka Kansas, ruled states that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and outlaws legally segregated schools- overturning Plessy vs Ferguson (43). This created equal opportunity for all students of any race to have access to all free public schooling.
Later down the road of history, America faced even more inequality when it came to the proper education for all. When America realized that the education system was not providing these opportunities, they changed rules of education around. In 2001, the “No Child Left Behind Act” was created to make sure all schools were given equal funding/the funding they need so they can provide the education their students need, as well the proper education for succession of standardized state tests (46). Standardized testing has always been a negative idea for me when it came to how testing worked, what students were graded on and what schools can do with these results from the tests. In chapter four, my group had the chance to talk about state testing and what it does, who it affects and what do the teachers get out of it. One fact we came across that we talked about alot was the fact that standardized tests help fund schools, and if these test results do not meet the state requirements of passing, the school gets no funding. Now, as a group who all came from different backgrounds of socio-economic status and different schools, we never really knew how these tests affected us other than we needed to pass them. Much of the school funding is also determined on how well the educators teach their students and if the students can pass the test. Merit pay determines the pay of a teachers salary when it comes to teaching the right material. If a teacher shows high results, they get paid more, if the teacher shows less results, they get paid less (143). For some, this is a great push of encouragement when it comes to teaching. But, this can also mean that teachers teach the material given with no passion for the subject just so they can get the pay they want. It was a big discussion for my group when talking about this subject. We all had experiences of teachers who have rushed our education and material just so we can get it done without really knowing what we are doing. I know not all teachers are like that, many are passionate about what they teach and want to watch their students succeed, but many also care about the funding and not much about the teaching of their subject.
Motivation is key for any educator when it comes to teaching. From past teaching experiences, I learned that pushing kids in a positive way really helps their minds grow and feel like they have a purpose to learn, and enjoy it while doing it. The american education system has come a long way when it comes to how and what we are to teach our students, and what is more beneficial for their lives. Chapters five stood out as a very interesting chapter for me. It laid out the rules for each subject in the education system, and how educators need to teach them. Subjects like math, english, science and social studies were all broken down into different components to ensure that each subject was beneficial to a child's education. Math, being one of the most important subjects, was a struggle bus in the early 1980’s. Failing math scores were wiping the nation when it came to standardized tests; in fact, eight graders across the country were the ones who were failing math when it came to these components (151). This became a huge eye opener for the National Council of Teacher of Mathematics; realizing math was the nation's poorest subject, they knew they had to make change. The idea of change started in 1989, when NCTM decided that all schools were to be funded by math textbooks, calculators and other additional math resources (151). The act of supplying each school of the necessary math materials was the start of the domino effect on other subjects. Once the national council for math made the “big move” for change, other councils for english, science and social studies evaluated their systems and started to make changes in order for students to succeed.
This is all great when it comes to core academics and making sure schools are funded, education is being fulfilled on the standards that need to be taught; but, my question is, why not the arts? I am a long time music student that ranges from activities like choir, band, theatre and now college level opportunities. The arts, like music and art have always been a struggle for many schools who are given funding for these areas of education. In high school, I went to a school where sports and academics made up most of the funding as per the looking of the district. When it came to the music program, it was hard to get the resources we needed like new instruments, money for competitions, new uniforms and even just the simple recognition of the arts programs. Not all schools are the same when it comes to funding, some schools have more money for all subjects when it comes to core academics and activities. Cab Calloway, being one of the schools with funding for both, amazes me with the way the school district is able to balance their money for all subjects and activities. Each one is equally funded by the state regardless of how good or bad they are. Seeing this has opened my eyes when it comes to the equality of schools and activities. I feel as if all schools should have the opportunities to give students a chance at the arts to expand their interests and make their students feel like they can be a part of something at the school.
Equality is the biggest factor when it comes to my philosophy of education, but this isn't the only factor of my style for teaching. Structure in my style of teaching is a huge form of etiquette that I teach my kids. Things like good manners, classroom rules and discipline are all a part of how I keep my students in check, especially for an activity like marching band. In the late 1800's to early 1900`s, students were expected to learn about the industrialized society around them (277). The vision of maintaining a good classroom started with teaching students discipline, creating bonds with each child and creating classroom habits. All of these factors help educators today maintain good classroom etiquette when being judged on performance. Without it, classrooms would be unstructured and wild. It is crazy to think that back then discipline was as huge as paddling a child for their behavior. Corporal punishment meant that discipline was taken to the extreme measure to ensure good behavior for the nxt time out of a student. Although this is not a huge form of punishmnt in today`s society; as per the child abuse laws, 15 states in America today still use this as a form of punishment as of 2017 (284).
Marching band is one of those activities where behavior editiquite matters. It teaches students how to be more mature, work with others and grow a sense of independence needed for later adulthood. When teaching my students, the only form of punishment we will only do when necessary is running laps or doing push-ups when behavior gets out of line. This conditions my students to always be on their best behavior despite what situation we are in. My Cab students know what it means to represent their school whether it is on the field, in school or at a competition; if this good behavior isn't shown, 4 laps around the track or even push ups are required for the more severe negative behavior. Most of the time, my students are amazing and are very mature for their age since grades sixth through twelfth all work together in this activity.
Lastly, as a future educator and one in the making, I think it is very important to know where you are teaching and incorporate it into your philosophy. For me, I came from a middle class school in Delaware County where we had our own “mini culture” of special things our schools do. When we hear of how other schools are run, it's like a culture shock to even think their school would even do that. Chapter nine explains much about the importance of school culture and how it is run. Little reforms in schools shape how the school is looked at and set them apart from others. In today1s society, schools have their own little attributes of how they run their school. Some teachers stay late after school hours to give students extra time for help; or, the schools curriculum is either exanded or followed to the “T” of the letter (318). No matter what the school does, it's a little ritual that the students and teachers practice and have engraved in their minds to follow.
Mission statements are usually the little key that tells people looking into the school, what the school is all about. A mission statement is a small statement that shares to the public what the goals are in place for the school (319). Little details like a clean lunchroom, study hall time and equality education for all is what the school expects students and teachers to practice. These little norms the schools shape is what makes up the school and the community around it. New educators are expected to follow these norms to ensure that the students succeed at a positive rate.
My philosophy of education has changed multiple times the past couple of years. I have learned that you can't teach all students the same, not all schools follow the same curriculum, and lastly not every school is the same in terms of equality for race, sexuality and socio-economic status. In my shortcoming of teaching marching band, tutoring for parents, and helping out at my local library, I have learned that not every child is the same when it comes to education. Some children have more access to resources than others, who may be it more than them. This can be difficult because if I could, I would give 100% to every child if they need something and or missing something from their life; but I am just one person. My philosophy on education is this…
I believe in equal opportunity and pushing each student of mine to the max of their succession. I understand that not all students are on the same track as others. While some may struggle with one thing that one may not, it is my duty to give each child the opportunity to an equal and respectful education. I believe hard work gets you somewhere, but also hard work takes time. Whether it takes multiple fails along the way, I will make sure I stand by each student of mine and lend that helping hand when they need it most. Education is not a job, it is a lifestyle where each child should be able to have easy access to with the most help they can get. I came across a website called Homeworkfor.me. I was surprised to find there many samples of social work research topics. No need to pay to read them.