Mr. Shamel’s Philosophy of Education
I believe empathy serves as a vehicle towards learning about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us; this knowledge serves as a means of transforming our world into a place of community, solidarity, and social change.
I believe that environments serve as opportunities for affirming communities. In terms of my role as a teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to facilitate a culture in my classroom that is concerned about the holistic needs of children. This can be accomplished by reimaging conventional power structures in the classroom. I am not a knowledge keeper. I do not dispense knowledge to my students. I believe students have the power to forge their own paths. Inclusion plays a role in the cultivation of environments. Inclusion provides an opportunity to discover the similarities that we share with different members of our community. With affirming communities, empathy, and inclusion, a classroom culture where people value one another will be the consequence.
I believe that we learn who we are because of our relationships. Relationships create opportunities to create new experiences, new memories, and new understandings of the world around us. Empathy serves as a conduit for these experiences to occur. In terms of the classroom, using empathy as a basis for building relationships is not a simple feat. It requires being vulnerable which is intimidating. I believe that with courage, I will be able to build rich relationships that are rooted in empathy. When we value one another and forge relationships rooted in empathy: community, solidarity, and social change serve as the consequence.
I believe in the transformative power of learning. When we learn something new, this influences how we view the world around us. In terms of the classroom, it is my responsibility to facilitate a variety of learning opportunities that demonstrate the strength of my learners but also to challenge them. Learning provides an opportunity to discover the external world. It is important to acknowledge that learning also sustains the world within. Learning ignites curiosity, which provides the opportunity for passion to flourish. It is my responsibility to provide opportunities for learners to discover what that sustaining passion may be.
As I compose this philosophy of education, I am reminded of the words of Dr. Maya Angelou: “When you get, give, when you learn, teach.” When I reflect on my life in relation to education, I am overwhelmed by the blessings that I have experienced. The empathy of my loving parents, the empathy of my kind-hearted friends, and the empathy of my dedicated teachers. I believe that these people did not fall into my life for no reason. It is now my responsibility to give my students what I’ve been so blessed to receive: the gift of human connection. I will cultivate environments that celebrate the identities of my learners, I will cultivate relationships rooted in empathy and vulnerability, and I will love and care for students as they learn and transform into the people they are meant to become.