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Standard P: Understanding of Teaching as a Profession

Teacher candidates positively impact student learning that is:

P1.   Informed by professional responsibilities and policies. All students benefit from a collegial and professional school setting.

P2.   Enhanced by a reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practice.  All students benefit from the professional growth of their teachers.

P3.   Informed by legal and ethical responsibilities.  All students benefit from a safe and respectful learning environment.

My understanding of Standard P:  Teacher candidates must provide a learning environment for all students that is professional, safe, and respectful of their rights as students.  Teachers too must take part in collaborative, reflective, professional growth that will positively impact their development as a teacher as well as the educational development of their students.

Standard P Meta-Reflection-Understanding Teaching as a Profession

P1: Informed by professional responsibilities and policiesWhat factors promote faculty teamwork and professionalism?

Teamwork begins when everyone in the school subscribes to a clear, specific goal, a mission statement for example.  At Breidablik Elementary our mission statement is “a community of learners, where every child succeeds.”  This asks everyone to consider, at all times during our professional day, how we help others “succeed” as well as how we too are “learners” in a “community.”  In my case, as a student-teacher, my role as learner is clear: learn the art, craft, and science of teaching, but the mission statement reminds me that my success is tied to the learning of not only myself, but my students and mentor-teacher as well.  It is the very definition of teamwork.

The mission statement reminds me that my mentor, administrators, and supervisors are all learners too.  We are a community, a Professional Learning Community, that cannot “learn” and “succeed” unless all of us “learn” and “succeed.”  Understanding this, I share what I can with the people around me not just so that I can demonstrate that I have learned, but also so that they can learn as well.  Furthermore, a sense of trust is built.  Since everyone knows the mission, working towards that end is immediately justified.  Everyone involved trusts each other to care about each others’ success.

The opposite would be an environment where there is no such trust and therefore no such professionalism.  Colleagues and students do not trust that when they learn they will succeed.   This leads to fear, and when professionals are fearful, it is hard to take creative risks and learn.  When I have learned something, an effective management strategy for example, I have been rewarded not only by my students’ success but by the affirmation of my mentor.  The opposite would be only the suspicion of success.  She, in turn, has learned what techniques work well with me, her student-teacher,  and possibly learned a new technique herself.  I trust that what she teaches me will be successful and she trusts that I am worth her time to teach.  The students learn as well.  Professionally, the rewards are wide-spread.

North Kitsap School District Professional Learning Communities (PLC) — Letter of Support

Overview of Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

P2: Enhanced by reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practicesComment on school staff development programs, workshops, structures, etc that improve morale and student learning.

Within Breidablik Elementary, Professional Learning Communities (PLC) promote reflective, collaborative, and professional growth-centered practices.  The PLC that I am a part of consists of our partner multi-age class (2nd, 3rd, 4th grade), a 3rd grade teacher, and 5th grade teacher).  We meet on a weekly basis, during our planning time.  Within our group, each person serves on one or more building leadership or staff development teams and brings back to the PLC, the updates or final outcomes of those groups or requests feedback that they then deliver back to the team they are serving on.   Having each member of a PLC serve on building teams is an effective way for all interest groups within the school  to share in the policies and decisions of the school community. 

Within our PLC, we share information, collaborate on lesson plans, and share common assessments (usually reading and writing).  For example, in math, I am teaching a unit on quadrilaterals.  Within our PLC, the 3rd grade teacher asked, “How are you teaching geometry?”  Based on my learning targets, I was already teaching this concept and was able to share my lesson plans and resources with her.  In another example, our partner multi-age class is mirroring our unit on the Oregon Trail.  Together, we are able to swap resources and lessons and therefore, expose students to a well-planned, rich, and exciting study about pioneers moving west. 

Shared Oregon Trail Unit Plan

EDU 6363 Unit Plan Oregon Trail SS1  EDU 6363 Unit Plan Oregon Trail SS1 Bubble Map Why Go West  EDU 6363 Unit Plan Oregon Trail SS2  EDU 6363 Unit Plan Oregon Trail Table SS2  EDU 6363 Unit Plan Oregon Trail Table 2 SS2 

Shared Quadrilateral Information

Quadrilateral Table  Quadrilateral Table-Student Fill Out

P3: Informed by legal and ethical responsibilitiesTell about the role of School District Board Policies and relevant state laws and codes to promote the rights and responsibilities of students and educators.

Recently in the district in which I have been student teaching an emphasis has been made to protect the rights of all children to learn.  This has meant an increased effort to provide services for new English Language Learners (ELL), students with disabilities, and, more recently, students who have been shown not to meet basic grade-level expectations but have been passed along regardless,  guarding against what President Bush called, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”   District-wide, new policies, chiefly in regards to more individualized, formative assessment have been implemented to promote more equity. 

For example, rather than one high-stakes, state-wide assessment driving building-wide instruction, smaller more adaptive assessments have become mandated such as our district’s Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test.  This test gauges more accurately what any student can do, regardless of academic standing, at any point throughout the year and even identifies the immediate learning strands in which the student would benefit the most from improving: comprehending the main idea in reading, for example, or subtracting fractions.    The test is adaptive, furthermore, so there is no such thing as “failing” or “passing.”  There is only what can the student do right now.  This, of course, is the first step in complying with the long-standing federal mandate that No Child Be Left Behind.

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Parent Toolkit – A Guide to NWEA Assessments (MAP Assessment)

North Kitsap School District Elementary Report Card Guide

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