Part of the mentoring process, she was tasked to write an "espoused plan." Being a little embarrassed, I had to research what the heck an "espoused plan" was. I had no clue. Through research, I found that it really is just one's educational philosophy or teaching platform. Espoused Plan is just a fancy word for what we all had to do when we started teaching.

What is it that I want my students to learn from me? That's a huge question. In an interview, if you don't answer this question "right", you may lose an opportunity for a job. In my 19 years of teaching, what I want my students to learn from me has changed. Honestly, and sadly to admit, when I started teaching, I only wanted the student to learn the math. It was all about that math, 'bout that math, 'bout that math. (Sorry, a song got in my head!) Content was everything. Why wouldn't it be, my students had to be prepared for the next math class. I wasn't going to be

*that*teacher that others would complain about because

*my*students didn't know how to factor a quadratic equation.

My own son, who was growing every year I was teaching (he is 19), and who has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, starting asking a ton of questions. Why does a clock tick? Why do car tires turn? Why can Santa make it around the world in one night? and even more serious questions, Why does a negative times a negative result in a positive number? I realized that it wasn't enough to just teach. Curiosity was huge, and one that had to be addressed. I figured if my own son wanted to know the whys and what ifs, my own students had to as well. I started to deemphasize concept and started looking at exercises that delved into the learning, that explained why.

Then as my son got to middle/high school years, learning and curiosity wasn't everything. I watched him and realized that the most important classes were those subjects in which he had a personal relationship with the teachers. He was never a boy that refused to learn, (he knew it wasn't acceptable) but he learned and thrived on those teachers that showed interest in him, listened to him, encouraged him, helped him overcome failure, allowing him to fail, and help him be accountable. He connected so well with his music teachers because of this, and is now studying at a prestigious School of Music in a prestigious university for Sound, Recording, and Technology and Upright Base Performance (It's about that base, 'bout that base, 'bout that base.) So, I moved my teaching to building the personal relationships with my students. Being interested in the whole child, allowing my students to be risk takers, and helping them back up if they fail (and teaching math) are now my points of emphasis in my class.

So, what is that I want my students to learn from me? These are in no particular order.

I want my students to learn from me that being a caring person and respecting others is the single most important trait in this world.

I want my students to learn from me to accept others as they are, as I accept all of my students.

I want my students to learn that it is okay to fail (temporarily) and make mistakes, as long as, one learns from failure and the mistakes and improves the situation.

I want my students to learn from me that math is important, can be fun, and shouldn't be scary.

I want my students to learn from me that they can be creative and will be someone that does something important someday.

I want my students to learn from me to love life, and that they are valued.

I want my students to learn from me to never stop learning. There is always something to learn.

I want my students to learn from me that it is okay to change your mind. It is okay to not know what you want to do when you are 14. It is okay to have many interests.

I want my students to learn from me that it doesn't matter what you look like, it's your actions and words that define you.

I want my students to learn from me that there will always be stumbling blocks and road barriers put in the way. What defines them is not how they handle the blocks, but what they do after they overcome those barriers.

I want my students to learn from me that I will ALWAYS be here for them, to support them, to cheer them on, and to hug them when they need it.

I will never give up on a student.