Friday, April 12, 2013


  The end of the workweek has finally arrived!  I am jaunting off this weekend to judge a youth event.  I am thrilled to get to hear and see the efforts of so many young people honing their talents.  It is a delight to be a part of something so very special, and a delight to run away from accounting land.  My ears desperately need to hear the sounds of kids making music!  It has been too long. 

Which leads me to what I am really going to post.  I am working on reentering the classroom.  I am most at home there, and I am filling out the nine million papers it requires to apply for jobs.  I have been intimated by the process, yet again.  For some reason, writing down my skills leaves me questioning my abilities.  Am I good enough to even submit a resume for this fancy school?  That question just keeps smacking me around in the heart.  One thing that I have to write is my Philosophy of Education.  That is challenging, I think.  I have done this before and I have been quite formal in doing so.  I have read scads of these online to determine the best way to present myself.  In the end, I wrote it out like I would write to my friends here.  I am going to post it today.  It may be too informal, but what I keep reading in the Internet recommendations in honesty and humility.  So, I am taking that route.  With bated breath, I give you my rough version of my philosophy of education.  Please chime in on your thoughts. 

And philosophy...

My first experience as a teacher took place in a remote camp in Chelyabinsk, Russia. I was working on an internship for my studies in Foreign Missions, and I was given the task of teaching summer English courses to Russian students. I was not studying to be a teacher, and I had no training for the assignment. Humbling is the best description for those weeks. I spoke no Russian, my students spoke very little English, and I had no translator. It was then that I learned teaching was an action that requires every part of one’s being. Through that experience, teaching became a passion as I stretched myself in every capacity imaginable to convey my lessons to my students.

That experience began a lifetime journey of learning to teach. My philosophy of education was born out of trial and error. Finding ways of reaching and keeping learners engaged is the driving force of my life’s work. It is not rare to walk into my classroom and hear storytelling, musical memory drivers, or the sound of pencils hard at work. I know it takes a myriad of methods to teach well. It takes a love of teaching to continually seek out successful methods alongside good discernment to leave behind the ones that do not work.

I believe everyone learns something in every situation. Students learn positively or negatively depending on the circumstance. As a teacher, I am the guard of the quality of learning for my students. My work and my reputation stand ever at risk if I fail to do my job well. I can educate well, or simply instill survival skills. My job is to provide students with the tools to be successful learners. Leadership, as a teacher, is critical to their achievements. I take that challenge personally. I guard my work, my character, and my craft so that I am doing all I can to educate well.

I left my summer post in Russia many years ago. I graduated college and earned a certificate to teach with the Evangelical Training Association, in addition to my other studies. Since then, I have taught in many different classrooms. I have met many students and families, and I have taught various subjects. I have witnessed great success in many students, and have been challenged by some to continually sharpen my skills. In all of my teaching years, I have never forgotten Russia. I have never forgotten the challenge of teaching when it seemed impossible. That was the summer that started it all. That summer I became a teacher. I found a way. I left Russia with a journal filled with my successes and failures. Among my entries are little folded notes, written in English, from my students. Those little notes marked my heart with a lifetime desire to teach. Somehow, I found a way to teach all of us in that camp how to communicate. Now, every time I fear I cannot find a way to reach a student, I thumb through the pages of that journal. It never fails to renew my passion to put on my thinking cap and bravely enter my classroom... and teach.

Thank you for reading B Charmer.  Thank you for your friendship. 

B Charmer

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