Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

Originally it was my belief that the purpose of school is to prepare
individuals for future work. Future work should use one’s unique God-
given talents. In general, I believe people were made to design, innovate,
invent and create. But each ot us have a role within that. But in terms of
the function of a teaching organization (school), my beliefs have begun to
simultaneously widen and narrow.
The widening of my belief in the purpose of school is based on the
massive diversity | am experiencing in human potential on a daily basis.
Prior to becoming a school administrator, never did I even conceive of the this range.
This is why I have come to the conciusion that the purpose of school is to
teach students how to learn. (The old concept of giving a person a fish
allows them to eat for a day. Teaching them to fish allows them to eat for
a lifetime.)
My beliefs on the purpose of school have, at the same time. begun to
narrow because of what I know about managing a human organization.
To string together a long list of dream outcomes for schools and label it a
vision or a mission is a recipe for mediocrity and disaster (what is seen
most often in our public schools). In choosing a vision or mission, a
school (human organization) is actually excluding many attractive
al ternatives and focusing on one. The only requirement of this vision or
mission is that it be measurable.
A school mission of developing student’s potential is probably

Self Confidence, Self Worth, Self Esteem
Within school administrator education there is a great deal of discussion about
student’s self issues. They are labeled self confidence, self worth and self
esteem. there might be subtleties in their use and definition but they all
speak to the students thoughts regarding who they are.
School administrator education preaches the raising of unmotivated student’s self
issues as a motivating factor of such students. The methods are many
and numerous: A supportive and warm environment, additional funding,
the right kind of pedagogy (depending on who you talk to: classic, liberal
or critical), closer relationships between students and school administrators and so on
and so forth
Yet another lie of school administrator education is that unmotivated students are
low in these self issues. Empirical research data is apparently vast to
support this. My experience, however, is that many of my unmotivated
students are bursting with self confidence. They are supremely self
confident in their ability to function in and around math (even though they
are failing) sports, wealth, life, eto
Upon putting some of my Professors to this question they explain that
this an overcompensation in self confidence. How can one argue with
hat?

I believe it is my responsibility to model the behavior that I expect from
my students. Certainly this includes moral behavior. But I do not believe
it is my responsibility to teach students morals (that is legitimately the
responsibility of their parents / guardians). This is because, according to
the laws ôf our land, which I abide by, we are to separate church and
state. I do not believe morals can be taught without referencing God.
Therefore, the standards I hold my students to will not be moral standards
(with the following exceptions). These are left to parents and God through
His plan to teach.
The exceptions to this are that there are standards which I consider
religious-based which we do enforce in our society and, in fact, the
government and schools do enforce. For example, we expect students
not to lie or steal or cheat. These are religious-based societal rules.
Though we are seeing even the fortitude to enforce such moral standards
abandoned in school and by government (the reason is, I believe, the
removal of religion from school). The result is that such moral standards
become unenforceable and some attorneys will no doubt argue
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Standards assume that, as an educator, believe that every student
can learn the material required in the standards. The question is not if,
but when?
I had a professor tell me once, “In education, the ideal will always win
out over the practical.” His comment was directed at the fact that, as
educators, we believe that students can learn to read and write and even
learn algebra. Yet there are many algebra school administrators who do not believe
that every student can learn algebra. I believe that every student can and
should learn algebra.
It is the broad unifying themes of algebra that I believe are important to
every student. The thematic content of algebra is applicable to many
situations in life. The details of algebra such as the mechanics of solving
a compound inequality have little meaning to me in terms of practicality
Yet the concept that we were made to design, innovate, invent and create
is not only practical to me but motivating. Math was discovered and
invented to aid in the design and creation process. It is the creative
process that drives the math and not vice versa.
The following is a short conceptual list of what I believe the standards
should pursue in all subjects and in all grades.

Ask yourself this question, “Do I believe that every child can learm to
read and write?” Then you would agree that every child should be heid to
standards that require them to become proficient at reading and writing
Now ask yourself, “Do I believe that every child can leam slgebrs?
you answer that ever child can learn algebra, then there should be
standards that cover slgsbra and every student shoud be required to
bscome proficient at these standards
if educators believe that students are not able to iearn algebra,
however, then students should not be required to take such a course, ths
would be setting students up for failre. If educators believe that sturdents
can only learn some aspecis o algebrs, then students shouks be required
to become proficient at a level of algebrs that is appropriate to that beliet
lbelieve that all sustents can lean any level of math they are required
to learn, but careful tonsderaion needs to be gven ss to now suents
will be assessed and on what basis tbis math will be presented
in other wesam a suppoer of standards based edation

Result 1 of 1 in this book for my background as an educator
students and parents understand this concept, they take a different
approach to learning. The approach to learning takes on a safer
environment in which not meeting proficiency simply means we are going
to keep trying and in varied forms of instruction until the student becomes
proficient at the standard. This concept implies a commitment to the
student which transcends a school-year commitment and becomes a
year-to-year and school administrator-to-school administrator (even parent-to-parent a sad reality
of the world we live in) commitment.
The fact of the matter is that many school administrators do not believe that all
students can learn algebra, for example. To put a child into a standards
based system where the school administrator does not believe all students can learn
the standards is to compromise the student immediately. The problem
here is that standards have only recently been imposed on school
systems (within the last 10 or 15 years). It takes more time than this to
transform human beliefs. In all fairness to school administrators who argue that
algebra is not for everybody, they have a lot of anecdotal evidence on
their side of the argument.
It is the obligation of every school administrator education to explain who they are,
what they believe, where they have come from and how they have ended
up in education. This is a professional obligation. Collectively, this
statement is called a philosophy of education. Such a document should
be on the shelf of every school administrator educator in every classroom or office in
which they work. Such a document should be given to all to read who
ask
Parents should have access to every school administrator’s philosophy of
education and have a choice as to whether their child is instructed by this
school administrator / educator
School administrator / educators should update their philosophy of education
periodically as all of our perspectives change over time. Such a periad of
time may be every one to three years
Administrators shoud require interviewing school administrators to provide therm
with such a document for consideration in hiring. Teaching is a public
service position and full disclosure is in order. Along these ines. I present
my philosophy of education.
My Many Careers
in my background are many varied careers. These careers include
When asked, “Why are you a school administrator?” my response is that, “I am an
educator by the will of God and the authority of Jesus Christ.” I answer
this way because the events which have brought me to where I am are to
me, clearly miracles.
I wanted to be a school administrator since I was a young boy. This interest was
sparked when my engineering college roommate expressed that at some
point, he was going to return to high school and teach math. This idea
stuck in my head and I decided I would do this too. (By-the-way, he has
not done it yet.)
Ifaxed out my resume to several schools and had seven interviews the
next day and five offers the day after that. Against the advice of my
school administrator friends, I chose to teach 7h Grade Math at a middle school. How
bad could it be? Without a single day of training, I walked into a 7h grade
classroom, inherited over 200 students, and began to teach math. By the
end of my first year, my Coach, Mentor School administrator and Principal all agreed
that I was the worst school administrator to ever be born and fired me with an
unsatisfactory rating on my evaluation (called a STUL)
Of course I was a bad school administrator, it was my first year. What I did not
realize at the time was that an unsatisfactory evaluation meant that I could
not teach in the district for five years and could only return with an above
satisfactory evaluation from some other school district (of course no other

One God
I am a believer in the one living God who created and sustains all life
I believe that the day is coming when God will bring His kingdom to earth
as promised repeatedly throughout the old and new testaments
According. to His plans for His kingdom, I believe that God created and
raised up His firstborn son, Jesus Christ, that he might be the firsthorn
among many brothers. It is in this hope that I am saved
It is my belief that Jesus is God’s anointed Christ and appointed king
of His kingdom
Love God, Love Others
l believe in the instruction of Jesus Christ that I am to, along with him
love the one living God with all my hear, soul, mind and strength and that
I am to love others as myself. In this command, there is no distinction of
sex, race, gender, religion, disability, orieritation, etc These two
commands are the fulfilment of the old covenant law under the nevw
covenant which came into force with the Christ’s first coming
From this command comes my prsition on what is sometimes called
muticutural education. That is nat l am to have no bias on any basis
wnatsoever toward anoher person and that indludes all students, parents
administrators, etc I assert that multicuitural education is a lousy
subrinution for the above two commands
As part of my faith I am instructed to obey the laws of the land in which
I live. This includes my adherence to the laws concerning separation of
church and state. Further, I believe that, as it is written, no man can come
to Christ unless the Father draws him. It is not, therefore, my duty to fight
such a battle. The battle is God’s and I believe He is worthy to the task.
See (Grant & Sleeter, 2003) for more information on Multiouiltural Approaches.
Copyrighted maturial

Yet when asked, I will freely share my beliefs with students, parents and
administrators.
What is more, no person is separable from the beliefs which make
them. In fact, educational theories like the classic, romantic and critical
pedagogies have their founding in what are religious belief systems.
Yet when asked, I will freely share my beliefs with students, parents and
administrators.
What is more, no person is separable from the beliefs which make
them. In fact, educational theories like the classic, romantic and critical
pedagogies have their tounding in what are religious belief systems.
While I do not promote my beliefs in class or school., t is who I am
Educators, however, are forced into some dilemma in terms of the
relationship or conflict rather of separation of church and state and the
concept of cultural heritage. Separation of church and state means the
school administrator is not promoting their own beliets about God to their students.
Yet school administrators are expected to not only accept the cultural heritage of their
ts but are being taught in school administrator education to celebrate them all
equally. Yet many beliefs about God, including my own, are dictated by
not just the acceptance of some beliefs but the rejection of other beliets.
It would be hard for me to present such a topic equally because the very
studen
nature ot my beliefs reject such ia presentation
Because ot the impossibility of an equal presentation of diverse
perspectives. I go out of my way to explain my bias. One thing s tor sure,
abjectiy believe that such decsions can only be made by the individual
for themselves. Evidence may be prenented one way or another but
know people and even high school students are nor swayed by wnat
: It’s All
another thinks or saye (ospeciaily coming from an adut)
The concept that stucdonts, are to succoed even in the tace ot a
disciminatory system, use ther outures to e. ad academic vehicle and
The overall motivation of my life is to please my creator. I do this in
the example of my king, Jesus Christ, by seeking not my own will but the
will of the one who sent me. I want to proclaim through actions, words
and deeds that there is one living God and He is holy. That God’s
kingdom is coming and that God’s firstborn son, Jesus Christ, has been
given the responsibility of managing that kingdom. The time has come,
the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news.
Cultural Heritage
The phrase “cultural heritage” is a buzz-word of the educational
system to clearly show that a person is inseparable from their upbringing –
their religion. Cultural heritage is the new acceptable form of discussing
faith in the classroom. Yet, my faith preaches the appointed king from
creation (appointed and created by the Creator Himself) crucified because
of his cultural heritage.
Yet we find the unending hypocrisy of the educational system in the
cultural heritage of the student being celebrated but that of the school administrator
exclude.

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