About Me

A couple more weeks and I will be a very proud papa.

There is no bigger event in my life right now than the upcoming birth of my little girl Ryanne Jane Waugh. Right now, as far as I am concerned that is really all anyone needs to know about me because this little girl already runs my life and I love it. Everything else I am currently doing seems to be in preparation for Ryanne. I am doing jobs around the house in order to get ready for her, such as cleaning up the garage and making a work bench. Painting our nursery and most importantly finishing my masters in time for her to be here. 

A little bit of what got me to this point before I touch on my philosophy of education.

I am off for summer between my fourth and fifth years of teaching seventh grade math at Talmadge Middle School here in Independence, Oregon. I earned my undergraduate degree from Western in 2007 and immediately got a job at Talmadge. I could not ask for a better place to work. While we have been hit with some very tough personal losses, the people that work for my school, including the administration, within Talmadge are wonderful. I feel that I have progressed as a teacher so much because of my peers and colleagues. I feel that I am very lucky to have the blessings that I do and I truly wake up each day happy to go to work. (Although I am happy right now during summer to wake up and not work!) My wife works out at the Falls City School district as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher and is between her 3rd and 4th years of teaching. She loves working with little ones and will be going back full time to teaching once her maternity leave is up for little Ryanne.

As far as my philosophy of education goes I am still in the process of figuring out exactly what I think is correct (although I am sure I will never be fully finished) but I have a general idea.

I teach middle school students and within that framing there are a few things I think are part of my philosophy because I teach middle school and would slightly change if I was at a high school or with younger kids.

Students need to get a better grasp on problem solving
I teach math so to some degree I am talking about math, but I think this is a bigger picture thing. In today's world in which seeking out information is easy, it becomes a students need to figure out what information is important and useful. There are far to many scams and false leads anymore that one needs to understand how to find reliable information. Students need to be able to accurately analyze whatever problem they may have and be able to not only find a solution but find a worthwhile solution. Knowing information is falling out of importance, we now need to problem solve and synthesize that information.

Students need to think, try and do work.
As a middle school teacher I see this as a bigger and bigger problem going ahead. Students today are very lethargic and motivation becomes hard to come by. In this information age there is so much going on at any given time that stopping to focus on one class or one thing becomes annoying. However, as life goes on it becomes more and more of the students' responsibility to think for themselves, analyze what is ahead of them, try to figure out how to get it done and then actually finish it. Teachers, parents, counselors and guides all play a role in this formation, but students need to start being accountable for their education and make sure they are not short changing themselves.

Students need to realize that they are unique and that they shape their own world.
In this world, where everything is available and at one's fingertips, it becomes difficult for someone to stand out. Students need to realize that they are unique and they they control their destiny. But that it is not easy, and it will take some blood, sweat, and tears. The most exciting thing about this information heavy world is that the future really is your imagination. Students can be whatever they want anymore. The world is small, it is easy to get connected to anyone at anytime, and it is this idea in which it becomes important for students to strive for what they want to be and shape their own path.

I need to guide students to a better understanding of problem solving.
While students need to gain a better understanding of problem solving, it becomes my job as a math teacher to enforce its importance in their lives. Understanding that while a solution may be easy to come by, it does not mean that it is always the only solution. I need to give them many simple problems to solve so that they can understand better what they are trying to do. I need to guide them to answers and help them start to have success.

I need to give the students confidence in themselves to be themselves.
By having success, students will start to gain confidence in themselves as the problems can get bigger and more complex. There needs to be a point in which kids stop getting their hand held  and they need to venture out on their own. School is not only a place to learn book smarts but it is a place to learn about the people and the world around you. Life is not always fair, but life can always be what you make it. 

I need to step back at times and let the students stumble in order for them to find their own way.
In order to help gain confidence in themselves and not have their hand held I need to step back and let them stumble and fall at times. I cannot place a safety net below them for the entire time they are with me as they will just bounce on the net every time something is difficult. If I give them all the answers then everyone will turn out as I am, and that is not what anyone should achieve. I should not think that I have all the correct answers and should let the students engage in their learning and explore the world. By guiding my students from a safe distance it will help them become the men and women that they need to be.

Technology needs to be better incorporated in the education system.
Technology is everywhere, information is everywhere. Education is in the same place it has always been. The world is evolving, but school is staying put. It is my job and my ope that technology needs to be better incorporated into the school. Our students should not have to wait until college to find out how to creatively use the internet and technology. Students are incredibly imaginative and giving them more open tools to achieve will be something that betters everyone.

For myself, make sure I keep enjoying teaching.
I got into teaching because my father once said that it is more important to wake up everyday and love what you do than to make millions of dollars doing something you hate. From about my sophomore year in high school I knew I wanted to be a teacher because I loved working with kids. I loved seeing growth in their eyes. They always gave me hope. In order for me to be successful and for my students to find success that can never fade from my belief. The day that I hate teaching should be the day I walk away from it, and I hope that day never comes.

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