Reflection Questions

I'm currently reading LouAnne Johnson's Teaching Outside the Box. So far it seems aimed more at new teachers but I've been really taking time to reflect on some of the questions in the book, which I've never really done before. I'm going to share some of my thoughts here because I think it's important for everyone to answer and reflect about their own practice.

What is my teaching philosophy?

Success is possible for everyone. Each student has different talents and different needs. My job is to provide students with the tools they need to be successful and achieve their goals. Making students successful makes me successful.

What is my teaching persona? (I don't think I answered this the right way but I like what I wrote.)

I am a mathematician: I observe, analyze, think logically, reflect, and solve problems. I am a professional: I'm organized, creative, quick on my feet, routine, and efficient. I am a teacher: I'm loyal, compassionate, funny, willing to help, and a deep thinker.

How do I want students to feel and act in my classroom?

I want students to feel safe, comfortable, challenged, successful, peaceful, cared about, and at home. I want them to feel like they matter.

Here are my actions I've come up with so far (They almost seem like classroom rules. Hmm...).

  • Speak freely without interrupting others.
  • Be active and energetic without being out of control.
  • Be respectful with words, actions, attitudes, and possessions.
  • Take risks and try something new.
What is my optional agenda? What do I really want to teach my students?
  • Organization makes life easier.
  • Be observant, looking for patterns and things that stand out.
  • Justify your thinking.
  • Keep asking questions until you are satisfied with the answer.
  • Be firm in what you believe but respectful in the way you express it.
  • Treat everyone like they matter.
  • Do what needs to be done even if you don't want to do it.
  • It's okay to not know, but it's not okay to not try.
  • There is no substitute for hard work.
Now, how do I go about making these things happen?


  1. Hello Elissa! I am a second year student at UC Berkeley studying math and education, and I found this post really insightful! I think you posed a good question at the end of this post. I've taught a few lessons in my time as a student, and I've noticed that even with a well thought out plan, it's hard to keep in mind what you want to make happen in the classroom. I would say that a way to make the task of making all these things happen in your classroom is to make it clear from the very beginning the kind of teacher you will be, the kind of environment you want your classroom to be, and the expectations you have for the students. The rest will follow.

    1. I wish it was as easy as just telling them what you want but if you don't enforce consequences for NOT doing what you want, then they think what you say doesn't matter.