Students Are More Than Statistics, They’re People

Teaching statements are a relatively new concept to me but one I find intriguing. I’ve never enjoy academics and in large part, that is due to how teachers/professors saw the classroom. I was raised in one of the most affluent counties in the country, We were actively told that we were being taught a much higher level than our peers. And while in theory this sounds wonderful, we were nothing but statistics to the Superintendents and Board of Directors in the county. I hated this. Within the classroom itself, it was much harder for me to understand and grasp concepts and subjects. I asked for help with the material from my teachers. I went to early morning (6:30am) and afternoon/evening study sessions with my teachers, had tutors, attended study groups at church and nothing seemed to work. And many of my teachers (particularly in high school) did not seem to know another way to approach teaching the material to me. In those tutoring sessions, they would “teach” me the same way they taught their regular classes and still I felt lost. It was not until I came to college, particularly community college, that I took classes and had professors that taught material to students using a variety of formats. The most common format was lecture but many of my professors used video recordings on youtube, made their lectures available on iTunes, classroom games, student teaching, etc. that made the material more engaging and easier to understand. This not only made learning fun for me, but I also began to actually understand the course material. I was encouraged to read, understand and then challenged to communicate my understanding to my classmates in a fun and interactive way. For the first time ever, going to class wasn’t painful. But I noticed the reason behind this was because my professors actually cared about making sure that we understood the material. They engaged with their students and provided an individualized experience for us regardless if there were 20 people in the class or 200.

Reading this teaching statement spoke to me in many ways because not only did it remind me of my experiences but it also gave me hope that there are teachers/professors in the world who genuinely care about their students and are willing to look beyond the numbers to make sure that their students are getting the best experience they can.

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