STANDARD E: MEETS PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
A career in education means taking all of my professional responsibilities seriously. The impact that I have on children relies on my knowledge and enthusiasm for my academic discipline (Indicator 2). I always convey a positive demeanor towards learning and teaching. I am enthusiastic about learning new content and always looking for new ways to improve instruction. Attending professional development and staff meetings is something I do on a regular basis. Many of these meetings covered topics such as current theory, research and developments (Indicator 3). Sample 1 includes just one of the many professional days that I attended to improve classroom practice. This particular conference covered information for math and literacy specialists.
I fully understand my legal and moral responsibilities inside and outside of the classroom (Indicator 1). I developed my unit plan (see Standard A) around the requirements of teaching to the MA state frameworks. Along with this, I understand my legal and ethical issues as they apply to responsible and acceptable use of the Internet and other resources. Sample 2 displays a contract signed by students and parents that explains school and classroom Internet policies. Students who do not follow these rules are reminded of the signed contract and disciplined accordingly. I feel strongly about providing these rules and restrictions to students. I think it is important for them to be a part of signing the contract (with their parents) so everyone understands that these rules are in place to keep students safe.
In addition to understanding all legal and ethical duties, I recognize the importance of collaboration with colleagues to improve instruction (Indicator 4). During my practicum, I attended team meetings with other second grade teachers to discuss current concepts and further develop curriculum. Sample 3 is a series of questions that I, along with a group of teachers, completed to improve Burlington’s science curriculum for the second grade. This meeting was very productive as teachers shared the positives and negatives of lessons, activities, materials, etc.
Through out the course of my student teaching practicum, I critically reflected on my teaching experience to identify areas of strength and weakness (Indicator 6). I asked my cooperating teacher to take notes and provide feedback with every lesson that I taught. Samples 4, 5, and 6 are examples of the constructive feedback I was receiving. Along with verbal feedback, I constantly looked to this journal for tips to improve lessons and behavior management strategies. I found the advice to be extremely helpful, and I tried to implement strategies during the following lessons. This journal is something I will continue to refer to past my practicum.
Parent-teacher communication is vital to student success. Each week, I worked actively to involve parents in their child’s academic activities (Indicator 5). Students maintained a “Newsbook” binder. Every Friday, students write a letter to parents telling them about their week at school (see sample 7). Parents respond to student’s letters and students read them the following week. The activity is an extremely beneficial way to keep parents involved in their child’s learning. Often, pull-out worksheets and activities are placed in the binder for parents to try with their kids at home. Alongside this form of communication, I collaborated with my cooperating teacher on her classroom blog (see sample 9). The blog reviews what students are learning about in each subject. Parents rely on the blog for information about classroom and school events. I think this blog is an effective way to actively involve parents. As an educator, it is essential that I develop relationships with my students and their parents in order to provide they best learning experience. I think these forms of communication are a great strategy.
Because of the impact I will have on children, it is imperative that I take all of my professional responsibilities seriously. I will continue to actively involve parents, collaborate with colleagues, and reflect on my practice. I will stay current with theories and research to better my instruction. Most importantly, I will convey knowledge of and enthusiasm for learning.