STANDARD I – ROLES AND RELATIONSHIPS
The student teacher establishes a routine that students understand and respect. Activities reflect careful thought, take into account student developmental levels, learning styles and diversity, and create situations in which students construct knowledge. The student teacher exhibits respect and consideration toward colleagues, particularly in team situations, supports colleagues’ work and contributes an equal share to team efforts. The student teacher encourages and elicits interaction with parents and community and makes him/herself available to those constituencies when and where appropriate. S/he clearly demonstrates leadership in the classroom, guiding and directing activities and interaction in ways that contribute to a positive and safe learning environment. The student teacher exhibits a clear sensitivity to issues of diversity, particularly regarding race, class, and gender, in his/her interactions with students, colleagues, and community. The standard is met if the student teacher consistently models appropriate decorum and exercises control without intimidation or domination, promoting a genuine democratically-based classroom.
Teacher Education Handbook, Secondary Education 2011-2012
I believe I am meeting Brown University Practice-Based Standard One: Roles and Relationships.
One of the goals I set for myself at the end of the summer was to make vocalizing my daily objectives a priority in each class. I believe I succeeded at doing so: the students knew where I wrote the objectives, the lesson's essential questions, and the agenda for each day, and we read them at the beginning of each class. What began as a thing-to-remember evolved into an integral part of my teaching practice, and the routine of having the objectives and essential questions up on the board helped me to promote student self-efficacy as it provided transparency for my actions.
Another equally important goal I set for my professional development at the end of the summer concerned awareness to diversity. Although I taught at a sexually homogenous place, there were many aspects of diversity I tried to implement in my work. Creating awareness to various socio-economic situations, cultural values, or decisions made acceptable by the historical environment in which they were made was one of the goals I set for my lessons on a daily basis. Primary visual and textual sources and daily probing questions assisted me along the way.
I was thoughtful of the activities I chose for each lesson, and I became a dedicated aficionada of the UbD approach. I have always believed in purposeful activities that make sense. When I began my teaching in Colorado, I was asked to replace a teacher who had engaged his students in a simulated Roman military formation. To much disappointment of my students and despite the lucrative promise of using lacrosse sticks for combative purposes, I refused to continue with the tradition. Back then, however, I could not justify my decision with anything but a feeble, "What is the point of this activity?" Now I am well-aware of what Wiggins and McTighe call "the twin sins of design": "activity-focused teaching and coverage-focused teaching" (Wiggins 3). To avoid the twin sins, I try to make sure that all the activities I plan are framed by the essential questions of the unit.
I am respectful towards colleagues, and I have greatly enjoyed visiting different classrooms to learn new methodologies. My observation log has 91 entries in it since I looked at the opportunity to visit classrooms as a privilege I should not miss. I took full advantage of my colleagues' invitations and visited classrooms almost every day. I have seen a kindergarten reading session, advanced art studio, Debate Club competition preparation, a historic evaluation of King Leopold's behavior towards Congo, and English "a penny for your thoughts" exercise, to name just a few remarkable teaching practices.
To continue meeting Standard One beyond my MAT experince, these are some things I plan to focus on in my teaching practice:
1. I plan to continue emphasizing the value of diversity. I will try to create classrooms where students can work on developing a strong sense of self-efficacy as intellectual and confident citizens.
2. I plan to continue working with essential questions and daily objectives.
3. I plan to remain cognizant about the "twin sins of teaching" and stay mindful of everything I ask my students to do.