Essay on Philosophy/Personal Statement

1216 Words 5 Pages
Philosophy/Personal Statement

I was a bad student in high school. I didn’t study, I got bad grades, I had an attitude, and I disrespected my teachers. I’d like to believe that this was because I was brilliant and existentially bored with the pedestrian intellect of my peers. I’d like to believe that it was because my school was so retrograde and repressive that I was placed into a hopeless situation. But that wasn’t it. I wasn’t especially brilliant; my peers were actually pretty smart; and my school was, all things considered, a reasonably decent place. I’d like to believe it was because nobody in my family had graduated high school, let alone attended a university. But that, too, wasn’t a valid explanation. My parents had
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I’d been in libraries in the past, to be sure, but nothing like this. Row after row, floor after floor, building after building full of love of learning. It was not until I attended the conference at Villanova University and I had a chance to interact with a whole community of Medievalists that I understood the enjoyment people could get out of learning. Here were people alternatively engaged in serious debate, making jokes about Aristotle (yes, there are Aristotle jokes), catching up with old friends, and generally having a good time. It was not what I’d expected to find but it stuck with me. Trite as it sounds, learning means more when you are learning with others and having a good time. This observation has guided me throughout my career both as a classroom teacher and as an administrator. Building community can easily become a vague notion, located somewhere up in the clouds. I have tried to avoid this by not so much talking about community as actually creating spaces where specific tasks are completed. My classes stress community through projects that require collaboration and individual initiative. In a recent eighth-grade class, students developed research projects in Medieval history that required that they work in groups and contact an expert outside of school to mentor them on their topic. Students contacted such

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