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Philosophy of Learning

I plan to use what I learn at New Mexico Highlands University to educate children and their families in an immersive outdoor learning environment. I run a nonprofit organization, Impact Outdoors, that provides participants with education through activities related to conservation, the environment, habitat management and improvement, biology of native flora and fauna, data collection, agriculture, and overall stewardship of the land. I am passionate about the outdoors and I believe that the best way to share that passion and protect native resources is by teaching others about the outdoors as well. I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education because the target audience for my program is elementary age children. I believe that by having a foundation in formal education techniques I will be able to best serve the kids that are in my program.

The focus of my nonprofit is influencing change in communities through conservation and education. In order to provide an effective curriculum and program structure, it is vital for me to have a well-rounded educational foundation and to learn as much as I can about subject matter but also about teaching strategies, available resources, and lesson plan development. I do this by attending workshops, conferences, and outdoor education seminars, which recently have included The Summer Teacher Institute for Environmental Education, which focused on Next Generation Science Standards and The Bosque Education Guide. I am also a member of the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico. I put my time to good use by volunteering with New Mexico Game and Fish and APS fishing clinics during the summer. By actively seeking personal education opportunities I believe that I will be able to provide a high-quality educational experience to participants in my program.

I grew up in New Mexico’s public school system. I remember having teachers that were engaged, passionate, creative, and clearly eager to provide an excellent education. I also remember teachers who were none of those things. They taught the curriculum but did not adapt their efforts to engage me or my fellow students. I learned best through hands-on experiences and freedom to explore. It is my belief that effective teaching is accomplished by developing an atmosphere of engagement that is based on interest, involvement, and respect. In a classroom setting this can be accomplished by being present and identifying the interests of the students and the ways that they learn best. It means adapting to their needs and evolving as necessary to meet those needs and to stimulate them.

My job as a teacher is to motivate my students to follow their interests, develop their identities, and engage with educational material. By being a teacher, in the conventional way or non-conventionally, I want to introduce students to knowledge and ideas that they may or may not have ever been exposed to before. I want to foster interests, personalize lesson plans, and allow for branching out. I want my students to know that their interests are valid and that there is no limitation to how far they can follow them. I want them to know that once they have learned something new, no one can take that knowledge away from them. I believe that the purpose of education is personal growth and development.

I want my career as an educator to be multifaceted. I want to teach my students what it means to pursue education, how to communicate effectively, how to advocate for the environment, how to have personal accountability, and how to stand up for what they believe in. I want to influence students to get out into their environment and get dirty, to get connected, to get involved in conservation and preservation, and to develop a strong sense of pride, respect, and responsibility. I want to be an effective educator and help my students learn and grow in a meaningful and impassioned way.

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