Teachers should demonstrate professional demeanor and ethical behavior at all times. In addition to this, I have had the chance to reflect on my lessons in order to enhance my teaching and student learning, as demonstrated by the post reflection sections in my lesson plans and unit plan. As a future social studies teacher, I attended the annual NCSS conference this year to continue working on my professional development. This was a particularly good experience in terms of learning from a variety of educators from across the country.

At William and Mary many of the courses I took focused on active reflection. During student teaching, reflection on lessons became a daily occurrence. There were multiple sections of the same class, so I would notice what worked and what did not during the first class and sometimes I needed to change how a particular activity was done in a later class. Even after I was finished teaching a lesson to all sections, I would want to reflect on how certain methods worked or did not, what material may need to be reviewed, what I could have done better, and much more.

An effective teacher must be able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and families. I observed several other teachers besides my cooperating teacher and maintained communication with them throughout student teaching. I also collaborated with the special educator in my classroom. I set up a few meetings during the time of my field practicum and student teaching. First, I wanted to learn about the students in my class that she was there to support. Then as student teaching began, I met with her to talk about the writing assignments that the students would be doing. I knew that a few of the students had specific difficulties with writing. In addition, we talked before class each day and I sent her any assignments or materials that her students would need. She was very helpful to me in terms of making certain that all students were focused and achieving. As for families, I contributed to a parent/teacher meeting for a student who was failing the course. This experience has helped to prepare me for opening a line of communication with parents and maintaining that communication. My main take away from that meeting was that I need to communicate early and often with parents.

I have experience working in a professional setting prior to entering the program to become a teacher. I bring the same sense of professionalism to teaching, especially when communicating with colleagues, administrators, and families. I also try to bring a positive attitude to work each day. I say hello to students and colleagues in the hallway. This is a small gesture in some ways, but it can spread and help contribute to the overall positive atmosphere that schools should exude. In response, I have found my colleagues willing to help, offer advice, listen, and ask questions.

I have met professional expectations by maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment, being the adult in the room at all times, collaborating and developing relationships with other teachers, and meeting with the principal and assistant principal.

Students often get off track or do funny things, but as the teacher I must maintain focus so that the students can remain focused as much as possible. Therefore, I always remember that I am the adult in the room. I am responsible for the learning environment in my classroom. Students are not punished for losing focus for a moment or saying something funny (unless it’s wildly inappropriate), but I still must be able to guide students to get back on task.

I met with the principal of Grafton High School. This experience was helpful because I could see an administrator’s point of view on student teaching in his high school. I also had the assistant principal observe me in the classroom. This was a good professional experience because administrators will observes new teachers fairly often.

I influence the students in a positive way by being a good role model and helping them grow as learners. I have developed positive relationships with other adults in the building as well. I always greet everyone with a hello. I treat everyone, student and adults, with respect and courtesy. In general, the atmosphere at Grafton High School was positive and respectful.

Reflect actively upon practice, leading to enhanced teaching and learning.

Cooperate, collaborate, and foster relationships with families and other members of the school community.

  • Interview with special educator
  • I developed a positive rapport with teachers in the building other than my cooperating teacher. This made it much easier to ask them for assistance and talk to them about teaching or other topics. It also made the work environment among the adults pleasant, positive, and helpful.
  • Parent/teacher meeting – I attended and participated in a meeting with the mother of a student in one of the World History I sections. This meeting was to discuss why her son was missing a lot of school and failing the class. We also wanted to get a plan together to get him to school and actively attempting to pull up his grade in the class. This meeting was effective and eye-opening. We learned a lot about this student from another perspective. The mother told us that there was a possible bullying issue, so my cooperating teacher was able to directly address that in a way that he could not have done without that information. This experience helped to prepare me for meeting with parents. I learned that it is important to make contact early and often. Parents should know what is going on with their child in school. As teachers, it is part of our responsibility to make that possible.