Standard One: Roles and Relationships
Overview of the Standard: Standard One: Roles and Relationships asks student teachers to:
(1) maintain professional standards guided by social, legal, and ethical principles (RIBTS #11),
(2) create a learning environment that encourages appropriate standards of behavior, positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation (RIBTS #6), and
(3) foster collaborative relationships with colleagues, families, and agencies in the larger community to support students’ learning (RIBTS #7).
How do you determine where you are in regard to this standard? To determine if I am meeting Standard One: Roles and Relationships student teachers are asked to examine their (1) relationships with students, (2) expectations of students, and (3) relationships with colleagues and the school community. I am to look at the ways in which I create a safe and secure learning environment for all students, make consistent effort to understand each student’s learning and cultural background as well as his or her needs, discern and address stereotypical references to gender, race, class, age, culture, disability, or sexual orientation and exhibit a consciousness of classroom dynamics and climate. I am also to look at the ways in which I establish and maintain an orderly and cooperative classroom, enforce, fairly and consistently, classroom rules and deadlines, make demands of the students in the interest of their learning and their learning styles, and create an active learning environment characterized by mutual respect and intellectual risk-taking. Lastly, I am also to look at the ways in which I fulfill my classroom and school responsibilities, work with fellow teachers, interact professional, fairly and equitably with students, colleagues and parents, follow school policy and procedures and make use of codes of professional conduct.
Where are you in regard to this standard? I believe I am approaching Standard One.
What have you attempted and practiced? My co-teacher and I tried to set high expectations for our students. These expectations encompassed all aspects of their classroom conduct, from participating in small and large group discussions to being respectful when other classroom members were speaking or working silently or working hard and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones. We tried to design the course we taught this summer at Brown Summer High School around the essential question and the assigned text but also around a project they would be self-motivated to do because it was about themselves. We worked on writing individual comments to students to encourage each student to work to their ability level in the heterogeneous classroom.
To further encourage students’ full efforts and participation in our course, my co-teacher and I also did a lot to try to set up and establish a welcoming and respectful classroom during Brown Summer High School. We worked to achieve student “buy-in” to the classroom constitution by making its forming an interactive activity with the students who contributed their thoughts to its formation. I think the fact that the students clearly saw their own contributions in the final product gave them more ownership of it, which made reinforcing the classroom norms it contained more productive as students could usually understand what they were doing that was disturbing the classroom culture we had created. Our students were very good about maintaining a welcoming and safe classroom and less productive in maintaining a classroom environment that was respectful to other students who were speaking or trying to work quietly. I attempted to remind the students of the need for a respectful quiet work environment during silent writing and learning activities through the creation “journal norms” that I literally put into each student’s work folders. I also attempted to consistently reinforce being quiet and respect during silent work time and when other classroom members were speaking (students or teachers).
I worked very well with both my co-teacher and my mentor this summer. I learned a lot from working with both of these professionals. My co-teacher inspired me to find more creative methods of engaging students with the material and bringing in our students’ cultural backgrounds into the classroom. I attempted to bring the recommendations of my mentor into my lesson plans everyday this summer and often asked questions and for advice regarding how to improve my teaching.
Friends and Family night this summer was the first interaction I had with parents of students I was working with. My co-teacher and I worked to engage parents in their students work for the course. During parents night we told parents our goals for the course, including essential question, text and major assignments. We also asked students to introduce the living breathing historical artifacts they brought with them to the class and to share the work they had been doing so far in class with their parents.
What have you learned? I have learned that consistently reinforcing classroom norms like being quiet and respectful during silent work time and when other classroom members were speaking (students or teachers) is difficult but very necessary to allow students to work in different arrangements and make meaning of class material.
What are your goals? One of my goals is to develop my toolbox of how to handle disturbances to the classroom culture. I also would like to work on reinforcing those norms immediately in a class so that I can have students working in small groups on activities that allow them to make meaning of material and feel comfortable that they are actually on task—which they would much more likely be if I already established a classroom norm that day that nonsense was not acceptable. To this end I want to engage my students at the beginning of the semester in a discussion about purpose: why are we here? To learn. Okay, what conditions do we need to be able to learn? So what actions are helping us accomplish our purpose and which are detrimental to it? I also want to work on developing ways to become more engaged in the community I am teaching in and ways to communicate with and develop a relationship with parents.