As an undergraduate student participating in an accredited teacher preparation program in the State of Iowa, I am required to develop an electronic teaching portfolio. My portfolio is divided into ten sections. Each section meets one of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners’ (BOEE) ten New Teacher Standards. Prior to receiving my teaching license in the State of Iowa, I must present and defend my portfolio to faculty at Coe College, my home institution.
Over the course of my four years as an undergraduate education major, I have been collecting artifacts to use in my portfolio. These artifacts include individual lesson plans, week-long plans, home-school communications, professional development materials, and reflections. Each of the ten sections of my portfolio includes at least two artifacts.
In addition to the artifacts, the Iowa BOEE requires all new teacher candidates to include ten synthesized rationale statements describing their instructional decisions, assessment strategies, teaching philosophies, and reflections. You will find one of my rationale statements below. I will post all ten over the course of the next few days. To view my teaching portfolio, please click on the tab at the top of my page.
Standard 9, Collaboration, Ethics and Relationships: The practitioner fosters relationships with parents, school colleagues, and organizations in the larger community to support students’ learning and development.
As an elementary educator, I value relationships above anything else. While my ultimate goal for every one of my students is an intrinsic passion for learning, I realize that the art of teaching requires a personal touch. In order to provide the best educational experience for my students, I must know every one of them on a personal level. In order to develop these relationships, I first start by establish a safe and welcoming environment for students to take risks.
Starting from day one, I address common misconceptions regarding making mistakes, asking for help, respecting every student’s unique strengths and growth areas, and collaboration with peers. Students get to know one another and themselves through whole-class, small group, and individual work opportunities. In Mr. Stanford’s classroom, students are not afraid to share their ideas because every idea is valued. Once my students realize how much their input is valued, I provide opportunities for each student to share their strengths with the class and have their growth areas bolstered by the classroom community. In my classroom, every student’s mastery is utilized and advertised to benefit the class as a whole.
In the same way I value strong relationships with my students, I also believe in establishing powerful connections with my students’ parents and guardians. I dig deeper into the potential of my students by reaching out to family members, asking for and valuing their input. Consistent communication with my students’ lives outside my classroom helps strengthen all-important relationships, benefitting my classroom community as a whole. I provide a continuous stream of digital and written communication with my students’ parents and guardians.
Over the course of a given week at Andrew Jackson Language Academy (AJLA), I monitor my students’ behaviors and send home a weekly behavior sheet every Friday. The student’s parents or guardians then review these forms, take necessary steps at home to ensure improved behaviors the next week as needed, signed, and finally returned to my desk. Again, I believe in keeping my all parties involved in the education of my students well informed. There is rarely a misunderstanding of upcoming content or classroom expectations in Mr. Stanford’s classroom.
An additional fundamental skill I possess is an eagerness to collaborate with other teaching professionals. I believe that an individual never stops learning. This is especially true of educators. I am continuously looking for opportunities to grow and develop as a teacher through peer observation and professional development. Over the course of my time at AJLA, I attended every single professional development session, regardless of their instructional focus. A recent afternoon session was dedicated to implementing Lucy Calkin’s Units for teaching writing. AJLA is fortunate enough to have a number of teachers who were willing to share their knowledge with others. I believe that engaging in constructive conversations, collaborating, and receiving feedback from fellow educators is an invaluable resource
I view myself as a role model for my students. I believe that my actions in and out of the classroom have a profound impact on my success as a teacher. In the classroom, I present myself as a professional educator. I am appropriate when interacting with students, colleagues, parents, and administrators. My dress provides a symbolic representation of my dedication to my profession: shirt and tie with outrageously fun socks to match. I operate day-to-day with a fixed moral compass pointed towards ethical and appropriate instructional and non-instructional decisions.
Outside of the classroom, I continue to embody the responsibility of a professional educator. I utilize social media appropriately and as a platform to further articulate my passion for education. My blog serves as the capstone for my educational philosophies. Regardless of if I am in or out of my classroom, I respect my students, my colleagues, my profession and myself.