Valerie Howell

Spanish & CDOS Teacher
Energy Tech High School

My Teaching Philosophy

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style” – Maya Angelou.

Developing individual intellectual and social-emotional capacity beyond taking exams is central to how I approach teaching because our students are not “ours” forever.  They are citizens of the world for the greater part of their lives. During the time that they are with us, it is our responsibility to introduce them to and guide them through acquiring the skills necessary to thrive in our complex society, all the while maintaining a healthy sensibility about who they are as individuals and how their actions and omissions affect others.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset, Planning for Success

In my classroom this is displayed when students grab a dictionary or ask to use their phones to look up a word, flip through their notes or ask another classmate about a concept that was introduced instead of giving up and saying, “I don’t know” or immediately asking for my help. I reinforce this by clearly defining expectations, acknowledging when I see this positive behavior, scaffolding and creating a space where “figuring it out” and “challenging” are the norm and making mistakes results in an Aha! moment.

What I'm Working on

  • Teaching personal mindset skills and planning for success skills to my students.
  • Creating scaffolds and spaces for students to tinker and figure out problems so they can independently reach that Aha! Moment
  • Providing consistent feedback to students as they practice targeted skills
  • Embedding leadership, accountability and resourcefulness within my students
  • Encouraging and fostering communication among students and between students and adults
  • Locating and accessing proven, appropriate, interesting and realistic applications and activities to introduce and reinforce the targeted 21st century skills
  • Devising lessons and activities that are focused and practical