Personal Background Reflection Essay


I started gaining appreciation for both science and teaching while I was in the 5th grade from an inspirational instructor named Mr. Boyle. This was further reinforced in 6th grade with Mr. Roth. Both made lasting impressions through their engagement with the materials and students. I got a degree in chemistry because I knew I could do it, and it would give me more choices upon graduating, but it was really a backup plan for if I couldn’t get through the memorization required for my upper division biology classes. When the school requirements stated I would have to get through Calculus 3, and I was starting college at pre-algebra I just put one foot in front of the other, and made my way with resilience and not without failures. In the same manner I worked my way up through Fred Hutch to be working in the most estimable laboratory on campus.

I intend to be a high school biology teacher. This subject is where I found my passion, and where I found the passion of our teacher to be most infective. Albeit to be teaching public high school is surprising and will be most assuredly challenging, seeing as how I never passed my first and only experience in public high school. I reasoned in 9th grade the predominance of my fellow attendees were not there to learn, but rather to engage in things I did not or did not want to understand. My mother picked up on this, and realizing how very difficult it was for me, searched for alternatives until I was cozy in a group homeschooling situation.

These experiences affect my personal educational developmental philosophy, as does my gender, spirituality and socio-economic status and I intend to find the ways these relate to that philosophy. “True professionals know not only what they are to do, but also are aware of the principles and reasons for acting. Experience alone does not make a person a professional adult educator. The person must be also be able to reflect deeply upon the experience he or she has had” (Elias & Merriam, 1980, p. 9).


Personal Educational Developmental Philosophy

As an educator I seek to create an environment that attracts and holds learners, moving them towards the objectives of the state requirements, but outside of that I believe people learn best when they are free to explore ideas they are curious about. I think nurturing this innate curiosity outside of the confines of requirements is where real progress is made. In following that belief a teacher could plan instructions by asking what the learners what their interests are, not only to show that their interests matter, but that they could make a difference.

This philosophy stems from my own freedom to follow my curiosity. I was raised under avoidant agnostic conditions but was allowed to come to my own conclusions based on what I was interested in. This hands-off approach lead me to appreciate religion and find faith in an organic manner. The impacts of my actions in my role as a professional educator is hopefully one of inspiration. I look forward to finding a resonance between requirements and what is on the hearts and minds of the youth, and in these moments cultivating the self-awareness, self-assessment and self-confidence that are oh so necessary for progress.

Another of my philosophies lies in being a facilitator rather than a director thereby instilling resilience in having courageous conversations and difficult discussions. I feel most successful in situations that are structured, and then finding the ways we can be flexible within them. I believe good educators start planning instruction by considering the end behaviors they are looking for and finding ways to produce them and using the learners feelings to accomplish objectives. This comes from an appreciation for clear goals, and wiggle room within them, and from the times that a teacher has acknowledged my non-verbal cues and engaged me for a response to the materials instead of bulldozing over them to get what they want done.

In an image of my ideal self, I am the instructor that is successful when the learners have awareness of social and political issues and are willing to explore the impacts of these on their lives, and while I feel compelled to the importance of such things I doubt I will feel capable to practice the concept. This is my ideal self, because it wasn’t until college that a teacher felt comfortable and knowledgeable enough to engage his class in this way (bio-chemistry and nuclear sciences). I find myself wishing for these interactions earlier in life to better prepare my future self.


Elias, J. L., & Merriam, S. (1980). Philosophical foundations of adult education.

Huntington, NY: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.