Teacher As Professional: Defining Personal Identity Assignment
Lifelong learning is what I truly put my heart into when it comes to being an educator. There are strengths and weaknesses we come across as we discover ourselves. Self-improvement is important as an educator to overcome challenges and to seek for effectiveness for student success. To begin with Professional Dispositions and my areas of strengths, I take the time to listen to others because I believe that I can learn from the different perspectives and experiences. I take the time to consider others’ opinions and ideas during collaboration because I know I can benefit from it. My strengths consist of familiarizing myself with the Ethical and Legal Conduct. This measures how serious and dedicated I am with my dispositions. I am prepared for my obligations as a Walden student by being aware of my expectations and responsibilities. I am aware of the grading policies and know to be prompt with submitting assignments on time and I believe that self-control is an important demeanor to maintain, and I practice that with patience. I am flexible in adapting to changes that occur in the classroom especially with my students’ needs. My students’ needs are foremost and if changes occur, for example, I see an improvement I’d like to challenge them and if I see a student struggling, I try my best to use the different strategies that will help him/her succeed. I take my time to get to know my students, this way I know how to teach the way they learn. “Teaching incorporates an emphasis on elements
such as time management, practice, mastery of learning methods, goal-directedness, help-seeking and a sense of self-efficacy. As a new teacher in the field, I know that continuous learning in the different emphasis is key, so I take every opportunity in professional development.
Now to talk about my areas of improvement, it often occurs that I approach teaching and learning tasks with confidence in particular because I am in my second year of teaching and I feel like I have so much more to learn. I can’t say I feel fully confident because I know that it takes a lot of experiences and learning as I go on with my teaching journey. I am confident when I know my students have gained knowledge and a positive character. As I was going on my second year of teaching I had so many questions. I know that as the years go by, and my encounter with everyday teaching will lead me to more and more confidence. Something that came to my mind just recently is that ongoing critical reflection of personal performance is very important. “Reflective teaching is a cyclical process, because once you start to implement changes, then the reflective and evaluative cycle begins again” (Tice, J., 2004). I have reflected upon my first year of teaching towards the end of the school year and I feel like I need to reflect more often in between my year of teaching. I feel like I’m still at the beginning of the experience part of teaching, and it has made learning so much that I can improve next year. I plan to collaborate more with my colleagues that have years of experience to gain ideas and insights.
Under the Advocacy area of the RWRCOEL Professional Dispositions, “the candidate promotes positive social change to enhance educational opportunities and promote student learning.” (Walden University, 2010), is an important disposition I’d like to improve on. I was so focused on teaching the content, and I’d like to promote social change with fidelity in every lesson. I’d like to collaborate more with stakeholders to improve student learning and advance my profession rather than just in the classroom, colleagues, and with students’ families. As for utilizing technology tools to facilitate communication, I’d like to learn more technology tools and strategies to enhance communication skills with students, families, colleagues, and stakeholders. I know that being part of the MSED program with a specialty of Integrating Technology in the classroom will definitely help me accomplish this.
As I pace myself with the NBPTS Five Core Propositions my strength is wholeheartedly respecting cultural differences in my classroom. I am concerned with their character. I am very committed to my students and their learning and I feel like teaching is my passion. I know that not all students learn at the same rate or in the same way but it is very possible with the different strategies and technology tools we can use to support student learning. Having students practice skills that will allow them to accomplish anything, to solve problems, to collaborate, think critically, and make complex decisions is one thing I find very crucial and I thoughtfully think about this as I create lessons. I love encountering and learning about my students’ cultures. Part of my strength is giving students time every day to learn from each other and incorporating activities that require them to write or say positive things about each other. I give my student opportunities to express themselves and learn from each other every day. I believe this will build character. I give my students many opportunities to take on a role and a responsibility that I know will prepare them for the future. I take my time and initiative to collaborate with colleagues to improve students learning as well as work with professionals such as my supervisors on the development of our school. In the text, Why We Teach Now, Amanda VandeHei mentioned that sometimes she doesn’t feel the support she needs from her colleagues at the school where she teaches and that through continued research and discussions she has with her graduate school colleagues she makes sense of what teaching means to her. I can relate to her experience because as a new teacher I feel a lack of support from my colleagues when I first started teaching at my school. I am glad that I am part of the MSED program because I believe it will help me in defining my personal identity as an educator and guide me to find the sense of what teaching means to me as well. I strongly feel that collaboration and a shared vision is the key to student success. In order to improve this, encouraging members of my school to have a stronger collaboration is what I plan to do. Even with the lack of support, I’ll do my best to share my knowledge and gain knowledge during professional developments.
I want to experience other grade levels in order for me to understand how students develop and learn in order to improve in the area of the Five Core Propositions. My first year I taught 4th grade and I have experience with the subjects I teach, but I can say that I am not fully skilled because I started with familiarizing myself with the content and trying the different strategies to teach the content. I am still familiarizing myself with the content of every subject and how it connects with the other contents of the different grade levels. I’d like to expose myself to more diverse instructional strategies to teach for understanding and to get my students engaged and stay engaged in my lessons. “Providing diverse students with role models who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities and make social contributions in a non-stereotypical way helps students recognize the limitless ways in which they can have a positive impact on society.” I plan to become a role model because when students have one, I believe it inspires them to want to do the same. Gaining experience can make me a better and more effective educator so I would like to incorporate new findings into my practice. Being a part of the MSED program will help me improve as an educator. I know that part of an educator’s journey is being a member of learning communities. I’d like to gain more experience in collaboration with the community. I’d like to learn more strategies to get parents involved in the work of the school and its improvement plan. I will be teaching Kindergarten this year and I know I will work closely with parents to help me improve in this area. Another area I need to improve in the most is being a leader and actively building partnerships with the community and businesses. One way to improve this is taking leadership roles and reaching out to the community to get them involved in improving student learning. I am currently taking a role of being a site supervisor for AmeriCorps and I plan to gain more experience to inspire members in this program.
My area of strengths in the RWRCOEL Technology Proficiencies is that I provide equal access to digital tools and resources in my classroom. Every student uses the same technology and resources, the only thing that’s different is the modifications needed to meet their learning needs. I provide an audio, visuals, and reading materials based on their reading levels. Every student’s task is equal but their way to complete their task is up to them on how they feel they can accomplish it. I assign student assessments online by having them access it by using an iPad or a laptop. I monitor student progress through data tracking. I have my students track their own scores to think about how they can improve. I also take the opportunity to talk about student data with colleagues because working as a team is a great way to evaluate what works and what doesn’t work with our students. I am committed to continuous professional development because I attend every professional development available at my school by also reflecting on what I have learned and how I can use the knowledge gain into my lessons. Recently, I have taken an online course on Educational Technology because I wanted to expand my knowledge of integrating technology. By taking this course, I learned about the strategies that can be supported with the different technology tools that can support those strategies. Digital Citizenship was a big part of that course and I am glad that I have taken that opportunity so that I can use the knowledge gained in my lessons next year.
With my areas of improvement, I’d like to learn more strategies using technology to facilitate learning for a diverse population with other stakeholders rather than just my students and colleagues. As a new teacher, I focused on getting to know the full environment in the school and with what works in the classroom and what doesn’t work for student success that I haven’t really reached out to the community fully. I have seen other teachers take leadership roles and involved stakeholders and the community to participate in student activities and I believe that this is a great way for students to learn also from what’s happening in our community rather than just the school setting. I’d like to take the initiative with that as I go on with my teaching experience. I’d like to promote diversity by including it in my lesson plans more and provide more opportunities for students to explore real-world issues by using digital tools. At the end of the school year, I reflected on my teaching experience and I realized that I need to give my students more opportunities to solve authentic problems using digital tools and resources. I’d like to create more activities that give students opportunities to use what they learn to create something new. We need to prepare our students for the 21st-century skills, that is why I need to improve on integrating technology in my classroom with fidelity. The MSED program will help me accomplish this as I gain experience and knowledge in integrating technology in the classroom.
My identity as an educator is very important. We affect the classroom and learning environment. When we are aware of our identity and have the passion to improve, we are better able to empower our students. The way we set the culture and environment in the classroom greatly affects our students’ learning. Improving yourself to improve student learning is a powerful plan. Lifelong learning is the vision I want to set my mind to as I prepare a plan for growth with the Professional Dispositions, NBPTS Core Propositions, and Technology Proficiencies.
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