I went back and found a set of belief statements I had to write for one of my grad classes in 2003. Admittedly, I MOSTLY wrote what I thought the prof wanted/expected to hear, and it's written in a style that's just not "me" or in my voice--too "theoretical" and not very "pratical." I only remembered ONE of those statements. So, I'm glad Debbie is asking us to define our beliefs in this chapter.

So, how would YOU finish the following statement?

"I believe classroom environments are most effective when..."

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they are based on research and experience but flexible in order to meet the needs of current learners.
I have a student teacher and I've been randomly giving her little bits and pieces of "advice." I'm thinking that some of these tidbits I need to start writing down as I form my own belief statements. I've listed a few of them below.

My classroom should be a safe and FUN place.
Safe in that they should feel comfortable to share and participate fully. Unconditional love and acceptance is sometimes difficult to demonstrate, but the good Lord will someday hold ME accountable for my words and actions in my classroom.
Fun by employing the "Fish" philosophy as often as possible.

When students have CHOICE (within certain boundaries) the quality of their work increases ten fold.
Avoid using writing to prompts and try to give them some time every day to read something of their own choosing.

I can CHOOSE my attitude just as I would expect my students to do so.
I prefer to work with colleagues that are POSITIVE and excited about growing professionally with "can do" spirits. Avoid conversations that lead to complaining, but don't be afraid to stand up for what's right. And always remember, you'll catch more flies with honey (and other FOOD) than vinegar.
Always bring treats to meetings. :-)

Kids are people, too, and so are their parents, created imago dei (in HIS image.)
Everybody messes up. Accept that and remember the golden rule of treating people they way you would want to be treated. And remember those parents LOVE their children and just want to see them happy and successful in school.

That's a pretty ROUGH draft. I'd love some feedback as I continue to add to and fine tune these beliefs.



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