Mrs. Gloria Settelmayer » My Educational Philosophy

My Educational Philosophy

Every August, my students and I start our year-long journey, where we are learning more about ourselves and the world around us, and where we are growing together as readers, writers, thinkers, and people. My teaching style most closely follows Vgotsky’s Social Development Theory, with a focus on social interaction and scaffolding instruction to create an optimal learning experience for both teacher and student. There are four major components to my educational philosophy: relationship, community, engagement, and process.


I have learned over the years that a positive relationship with students is vital to student learning. My students know that while I hold very high behavioral and academic expectations of them (just as I hold for myself), I genuinely care about and respect them, and I have found that when that part of the relationship is established, they return that respect, and their motivation to work and set high expectations for themselves follows closely behind. I take on many roles and wear many hats to let my students know I truly care about them not only as students, but also as fellow human beings. I want my students to be comfortable in my room, comfortable enough to put their whole being into their writing, to write about personal things that matter, comfortable enough to step OUT of their comfort zone and try something new, to make mistakes so they can grow as readers, writers, thinkers, and people.


Every school year I work on creating a more community-like and collaborative environment. Collaboration and a sense of community are vital for students to achieve the highest level of learning because we are learning from each other.  I want each and every one of my students to realize he/she is important to our classroom community and has something to offer, whether it be culture, a differing viewpoint, an experience, new information, etc. I want my students to engage in effective discourse and learn to understand and appreciate differences; therefore, establishing a collaborative environment is key. Setting expectations for collaboration early on in the school year and utilizing technology to engage students in meaningful informal and formal collaborative activities is my current focus for creating a more community-like environment.


I strongly believe engagement in the classroom is key to helping students really grow and thrive. Much of my professional development and research involves learning the varying activities and assessments to engage and challenge students. Relating texts and lessons to students’ lives is an important part of engagement, as well as utilizing technology to give students the chance to write to real-world audiences. If students are writing about subjects/issues that matter to them, and writing to a wider audience than just the teacher who gives them their grade, they will engage more in the process and better understand and appreciate the rhetorical situation.  I want my students to create writing that matters, that makes a difference.



Focusing on process, not just product is crucial for an optimal learning experience. Working closely with students through the thinking, reading, and writing process helps me get to know them as learners and people so that I can better scaffold their learning and so they can take charge of their own learning. The biggest obstacle with this is time management. Working very closely with students throughout the process is time consuming, and while quality is more important than quantity, there are many standards students need to master by the end of the school year. I am currently working on effective and time efficient ways to help students through the learning process so they receive an optimal learning experience.


As a lifelong learner, I am consistently working to improve my craft as a teacher. My personal journey entails continual professional development and reflection with a focus on relationships, community, engagement, and process so that I can inspire my students to be lifelong learners as well throughout our year-long journey together.