Ratliff's Philosophy Statement

aka the Beliefs from Which I Teach

My philosophy statement can be wrapped up in three main themes from where I live and focus: making connections, constant push, and never alone.

Making Connections

I take time and connect with my students, listen to them about their world and respond positively to what interests them. I do this with my words and by bringing it, in some fashion, into the classroom, too. This helps students forge a deeper connection to the learning. I share about my family, my cat, and my life in a way that they can relate and we both remember, we are all human beings in the room that deserve at the very least – courtesy. We all seek acceptance and affirmation. Our connections create a safe space for students and give them the freedom to question, to wonder, to go beyond the textbook and ask why or why not? Memorization of facts or figures has been replaced in many ways, by Google and other search engines available on the internet. I believe my role as teacher is to facilitate student thinking, help them understand how to look at things critically, and push their ideas beyond just what they’re told. Creativity is key. And each student needs to be doing this in the way that works for them. Cookie cutter teaching begone! Critical thinkers are who I want holding our future in their hands.

Constant Push

I continually work to increase my skills as a teacher through education and collaboration. I provide engaging work to the students so it’s them who are discovering, interacting, and working with the world, not having it handed to them by a sage on the stage. I’m the facilitator who structures the work, provides material that is best for each student, guides each one on the education journey, and supports every person no matter how high they climb.

As the educator who desires to understand who to push, where to push them, and how hard to push, I have to consistently look at student results in formative and summative assessment. I then use the data in systematic ways so I can target needed interventions. My job is to help them be the best at whatever we’re doing. When they succeed, so do I.

Never Alone

I believe in working with my peers to create the most engaging lessons, supporting one another in lesson design, implementation, feedback, and data analysis. Then being with other educators, listening and strengthening each other when the stress is high, and celebrating when we see the successes of our students. These connections make us all better educators and improve the success of not only our students, but ourselves, as well. And when asked for help, I always do my best to give it to my peers or point them in the right direction. Watching other teachers do well is my reward.