“Teacher” is first a personality, then a profession.

            Like many profound statements made throughout history, my teaching philosophy popped out of my mouth as quickly as it popped into my head one day.  Years of reflection on fortunate experiences, influential mentors and introspection led to the realization that all are connected by common, innate characteristics.  All share an intangible force, driven to inspire.  All share the teaching personality.  Contemplating what this statement really means, I’ve analyzed the following key components to my belief: 

Communication
Diversity awareness and political correctness are buzzwords to encourage understanding and appreciation of others.  The heart of these goals is communication.  I believe that the ability, willingness and commitment to communicate are central to the teaching personality.

Compassion
Communication must be hand-in-hand with compassion.  I believe the desire and determination to experience empathy is integral to the teaching personality. 

Character
The distinguishing, non-physical features of a person comprise his or her character.  I believe the teaching personality beholds the best possible interpretation of character: A value-based individual with a positive attitude and contagious commitment to improvement.
 
Change
Teaching requires a wide variety of knowledge, skills and qualities.  Across all of these, I believe the teaching personality must be critical in thought and confident, but willing to change and grow constantly. 

    I believe in a teaching/learning model that embraces both behaviorism and constructivism.  I believe both theories are in action during development.  I am especially in support of leveraging Bloom’s Taxonomy to create a learning-rich environment including higher-order questioning and discussion.
 
    Ultimately, I believe the teaching personality is an extension of my core identity.  It was given to me to be nurtured and shared.  It is my responsibility, but indeed privilege, to use my gifts as tools of change, to remain solid in character, but fluid in resolve, to foster open and direct communication and to model compassion. 
 “Teacher” is first a personality, then a profession. 



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 Updated April 4, 2012

Walt Sutterlin 2012. All rights reserved. All works published on www.sutterlearn.com are copyright protected and may not be used, reprinted, retransmitted, or altered in whole or in part without express written permission of Walt Sutterlin.