Sunday, January 19, 2020

Aaron S. Robertson teaching philosophy

Aaron S. Robertson

January 2020

For me, it’s important that the teaching profession serves as an accurate and trustworthy map guiding the student between theory and practice and back; a bridge between what is taught in the classroom and what it’s really like out there in “the real world.” One always needs the other, and vice-versa.

Having spent my working career up to this point in various capacities in business and industry, I love working with high school and college undergraduate students on resumes, the interviewing process, developing job skills, career research and advice, and advice on scholarship applications.

I firmly believe it’s important to take a holistic approach and have a big-picture, interdisciplinary mindset when it comes to working with the students entrusted to our care. While my own areas of specialization are in the realm of business, I also understand that students struggling in their math, writing/grammar/communication/ELA, and even social studies courses are going to struggle in business courses, as well. The world of work and business is highly interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from economics, psychology, sociology, philosophy & ethics, math, law & government, and the language arts. That said, it’s critical to work collaboratively with colleagues in other disciplines, with parents, and with administration and support staff to seek meaningful solutions and resources that are ultimately going to benefit the whole student and prepare him or her for a successful and fulfilling life and career.

Where it concerns delivering content and lessons, incorporating a plethora of engaging tools, strategies, and media into lesson plans is critical for positive learning outcomes. Where appropriate, film, visuals, the Internet, small group work and discussion, larger class discussion, simulations and games, guest speakers, field trips, community partnerships, and personal reflection should be made use of.

Participation in co-curricular clubs and activities should be strongly encouraged at every opportunity. Clubs and activities are a great way to supplement in-class learning by developing or strengthening skills in areas like communication, negotiation, leadership, planning, budgeting, problem solving & critical thinking, and teamwork, among others. Beyond that, they can provide an opportunity for developing meaningful relationships with fellow students as they learn and grow together around common interests, goals, ideas, and values. These relationships can translate into lifelong friendships and valuable networking connections.

It’s important for both school districts and colleges / universities to partner with organizations and systems like the local chamber of commerce, the local technical college system, and with individual businesses directly to provide students with meaningful opportunities to bridge the theory of the classroom with the practical application in the world of work and business. It really does take a village to raise a child, and these community relationships are critical for success.

Every role within a school district or college / university is equally important. The successes and shortcomings of each role holder will have ripple effects throughout the entire institution, as students are sent along to the next grade level; the next school; the next group of teachers, administrators, support staff, and set of circumstances; or out into the workforce. That’s why it’s imperative that we all seek to build meaningful relationships with our students, our community’s families, and with one another as staff, and that we all do the best we can to collectively prepare the students entrusted to our care for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in life and career.

To close, nothing is more thrilling and fulfilling for me than to engage students on a level where the knowledge takes root. When that proverbial light bulb moment goes off, and you can see the student(s) pondering - that's what does it for me. It’s my sincere hope to be able to have a meaningful impact on the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. If students learned something from me that somehow better prepared them for life and career, then I fulfilled my own life's work.

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