This page is home to a variety of portfolio components and sample teaching resources.  I have included my teaching philosophy here, and link to other resources at the bottom of the page.

Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, I am responsible for facilitating the mechanical growth of student knowledge; I will concede to that, but it is also an opportunity to foster students’ individual growth.  The knowledge and skills that students obtain in a mathematical setting will be vital to the analytic and reasoning skills prevalent in their adult life.  Even if a student is never asked to factor an expression, or find the missing leg of a triangle in adult life, I hope he or she at least understands the process behind mathematical reasoning.  Desire for proof is vital for proficient cognitive thinking!  Mathematical thinking is an aspect of our lives that we take for granted; the analytical mind is more apt to efficiently solve life problems (whether mathematics related or not).  The study of cause and effect, and the questions of “Why?” that we face every day, need be addressed in a mechanical and mathematical way—there is a reason for everything, and mathematics is a road on which we search for those reasons.  It all starts with the foundation.

xkcd - Purity

Credit to xkcd.com

If I can get students invested in their own learning, it does more to prepare them for the future than any achievement-based learning ever will.  Love for learning is an ideology that I will always promote with my students.  In my classroom, students that are trying to expand their knowledge for more reason than the points attached to that learning, will always be praised appropriately.   Using a lead by example ideology, I will always strive to be excited about learning and mathematics.  If students see the joy of mathematical learning and exploration in others, they will be more apt to find joy in it themselves.  Finally, I just want mathematics to be fun!  Students need to move beyond the “why do I need this?” mentality before they can ever hope to actualize their learning potential—I hope that making mathematics fun will combat this obstacle.

As for the technical side of things, it is important to facilitate learning through a variety of avenues.  Technology is a hot-button issue, but I stress that it should be used only when enhancing and building upon student learning.  The last thing we want is for students to be oversaturated with technology for technology’s sake.  That said, technology certainly has a role in the mathematics classroom; computational devices have undoubtedly expanded the available toolsets at students’ disposal.  Learning and working cooperatively is also a key component to true student learning, specifically with regard to exploratory thinking.  If students are given the opportunities to conjecture and reason on their own, they will surely come to appreciate the process of mathematical thought development.  That said, a close eye must also be trained on the national and state standards for mathematics education.  There are certain understandings that students are expected to obtain in their educational endeavors, and it is my responsibility to mold curricula accordingly.  Above all else, though, it is important to make learning fun for students.  If I can make them life-long learners in the process, I’ve done my job.

Once students are excited about learning, then it becomes an issue of catering to the varying needs of students in the classroom.  To implement the same strategies per every student is failing to understand that not all students are created equal.  This is not to say that some students very much struggle in mathematics, but it will take an extra effort to ensure that they are given adequate opportunities for growth.  In this, I must adapt to the needs of the individual—there is no magic formula, I just need to make the best decision possible as these situations arise.

Portfolio Resources:

Literacy Philosophy (PDF)

Recognition from Grand Valley State University for my services to the tutoring center:

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Sample Quiz – Geometry (PDF)

Sample Test – Geometry (PDF)

Problem of the Week:

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Problems such as this were presented each Monday, and students had until the end of the day on Friday to earn a few points of extra credit. For more examples from the Problem of the Week, visit this page:

Problems of the Week