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My Educational Philosophy

Keta’ K. McCaskill

College of Southern Nevada

“People won't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

My Educational Philosophy

Educational Philosophy is what teachers believe “ought to be” about how humans learn and grow

and should learn to live a good life; which is education. Philosophy is a theory or attitude held

that acts as a guiding principle for behavior. I believe religion arrive at these truths based on

supernatural revelations and doctrine, while philosophers base everything on deductive

reasoning. So the question addressed to me remains, “What is my Educational Philosophy?”

The short answer is, “I am still discovering it.” While I have never actually taught a classroom

of very young people outside of children’s church, I believe I can make a difference in the lives

of America’s youngest citizens because I served in the Air Force for 24 years, I see them as

smart, and I see hope when I see them.

Philosophy comes from the Greeks meaning love of wisdom. Philosophy explains what

teaching is, the importance of it and how that teaching affects the students and the society.

Philosophy clarifies roles of beliefs through life experiences, and ethics in the classroom

showing that all students are different and all students can learn, just not the same. Philosophy

provides guidelines of teacher expectation and what is to be striven for when teaching.

I want to become a Kindergarten teacher to serve and make a difference in the lives of the

youngest citizens in America. They deserve the best educational start available because America

prides itself on being the best. I grew up playing school during summer breaks; I even brought

home text books for my students (the dolls I owned). And I loved it. Although not fully

formulated, my educational philosophy is as diverse as I am. The complexities of my life

experiences have taught me that my Educational Philosophy is currently defined as a mix of

Essentialism, Progressivism and Social Reconstructionism. Nevertheless, I will always strive


for a continuous adaptation of my Educational Philosophy for the sake of the children that will

come through my classroom because of my aspiration to be a part of positive change.

I served honorably in America’s Department of Defense for twenty-four years; several of

those years on foreign soil. I retired as a United States Air Force Master Sergeant. I taught

Airman a way of life that promotes all things learning. I took them from the most basic concepts

to more complex analyses. I understood and appreciated the hard work and determination

required to get us there too. It was a joy to see the Airman “get it.” And yet a little frustrating

when they didn’t. It motivated me though to dig deeper in order to show those Airman where

they had come from, where they were presently and the possible future to be obtained just ahead.

I see this for America’s youngest citizens too!

I believe Kindergarten teachers have the most important job in the world. It’s an

opportunity to impact very young people’s lives with instruction that will carry them throughout

their academic careers and life. Very young people help teachers to experience learning all over

again every day because they see things differently. They still believe anything is possible.

The Air Force slogan when I enlisted was “Aim High.” Aiming high meant continuously

learning ways to convey what I had learned to others. It is not just the bachelor’s degree, state

certification or the knowledge of the subjects that I would be teaching to be highly qualified

teacher. It is also knowing who I am and what I bring to the classroom, knowing my students

(the successes, challenges, and frustrations) and their families, knowing what works or doesn’t in

the classroom, and what I’ve learned about teaching from not only my teaching style but others

as well.

I believe teachers can see students as smart. They must ask smart for what and in what

though. As for me, I found from a Multiple Intelligence assessment that my smartness starts with

musical, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, spatial, linguistic, intrapersonal,

and naturalist intelligence respectively. And knowing this, I can better identify with my students

and help them to identify with their own learning intelligence. I do not want my students’

potential wasted. I will challenge them and watch them grow to their full potential. I will use

preventive and supportive behavior strategies that comes from smiles more so than corrective


A smile says come right in, sit down for a while, and enjoy yourself. A smile says no

matter what it looks or feel like, it’s going to be okay. A smile in general is gentle and inviting,

not hostile. But a smile can also say we have rules and consequences. Lastly, a smile definitely

says I believe in you. I want my students to feel that I understand and can relate and therefore

they can choose to learn from me and I can learn from them. It is my expectation that my culture

will foster a classroom of trust that reaches from me to the student and vice versa. The bottom-

line is that the entire classroom must stay watching and educated to the unseen just around the


I read the book Savage Inequalities: Child in America’s Schools and it really affected

me. In the book, Dr. Lillian Parks, the superintendent of the East St Louis schools, is cited to

have said, “Gifted children are everywhere in East St. Louis, but their gifts are lost to poverty

and turmoil and the damage done by knowing they are written off by their society. They have no

feeling of belonging to America (Kozol, 1991, p.41).” The theme of the book was summed up

by President Obama when he once said, “Now, as a nation, we don't promise equal outcomes, but

we were founded on the idea everybody should have an equal opportunity to succeed. No matter

who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That's an essential

promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up.”

I believe the fulfillment of that promise begins with me. President Obama said at the

National Teacher of the Year ceremony held at the White House on April 29, 2015, “They

(Teachers) are not just teaching formulas or phonetics -- they’re selling hope, sparking

imagination, opening up minds, giving people -- young people -- a sense of their own

power. They teach students to challenge themselves and dream beyond their circumstances, and

imagine different futures. And then they work as hard as they can to help those young people

make their dreams real.” That is me. Like the song “Opportunity” from the movie Annie (2014),

Now look at me

And this opportunity

Is standing right in front of me

But one thing I know

It's only part luck and so

I'm putting on my best show

Under the spotlight I'm starting my life

Big dreams becoming real tonight

So look at me and this opportunity

You're witnessing my moment, you see?

My big opportunity

I won't waste it

I guarantee.

I was taught “Pillars of Wellness” in the Air Force as a way of life. These pillars are the

foundation from which I teach and they include: (1) emotional, (2) physical, (3) spiritual, and (4)

social wellness which includes the five C’s (caring, committing, communicating, connecting and

celebrating). By working holistically with each individual young person to address these needs, I

can give every young person the opportunity to become a responsible, fulfilled, and giving adult.

This is my passion, my mission and my goal; to minister personally to the specific needs of each

young person I serve. Indeed, while I have never actually taught in a classroom outside of

children’s church, I believe given the opportunity I can make a difference in the lives of

America’s youngest citizens.



Parkay, F.W. (2013). Becoming a Teacher 9th Edition. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Kozol, J. (1991). Savage Inequalities Children in America’s Schools. New York: Broadway


SIA Lyrics (n.d.) Opportunity featuring Quvenzhane Wallis. Retrieved from:

The White House Office of the Press Secretary (2014, Dec 4). Remarks by the President at

College Opportunity Summit. Retrieved from:


The White House Office of the Press Secretary (2015, Apr 29). Remarks by the President

Celebrating the 2015 National Teacher of the Year. Retrieved from:


AMC officials announce results of Comprehensive Airman Fitness survey (2010 Sept 15).

Retrieved from: