Standard #6: Professional Knowledge and Growth
In face-to-face debriefings, journal writing, and formal self-analysis, the student teacher demonstrates the positive acceptance of feedback and makes a thoughtful response to it. Classroom planning and implementation demonstrates that the student teacher has internalized and is making use of feedback. Beyond the classroom, the student teacher avails her/himself of professional publications, conferences, and workshops to improve his/her practice and to develop the habits necessary for continued professional growth.
Standard #6: Reflection
Feedback is something that I have always encouraged but never really had the opportunity to receive too critically until the MAT program. Coming straight from my undergraduate years, I had four years of experience working in student affairs and involvement, which focuses on the positive and building each student up to their potential. Although I relished this and grew an immense amount from my leadership experience, critical feedback was limited and was therefore something that I believe that I internalized and grew from a great amount here at Brown.
Debriefing with our mentor, Tom, was the most valuable part of our day, because whether we were riding high from a great lesson, or beating ourselves up over something gone wrong, Tom always brought it back to the simple questions or “What went well?” and “What would you improve on?” He was the King of compliment sandwiches, providing us positive feedback with what he thought we could have done better. After each of our debriefings, I would read through the written feedback that Tom provided and take the time to take notes on what we’d like to improve.
Some of the specific techniques we learned from Tom that we tried out in our lessons were providing longer wait time for questions, strategizing ways for cold calling and engagement, and different methods to regain attention. His feedback and suggestions greatly increased the size of my teacher toolkit and I can’t thank him enough for his feedback.
Beyond the classroom in BSHS, some of the most important opportunities to learn were in the faculty meetings and talks with other teachers. For some of our struggling students, we reached out to their other teachers to see how they were handling their behavior or learning, and we also worked closely with our Principals, asking for their advice and support in certain situations.
Goals of mine for this are lengthy, as professional development is something that I enjoy, perhaps in a nerdy way, and I cannot wait to have the chance to observe other teachers and attend workshops and conferences. I hope to work closely with my mentor teacher and to be more comfortable asking specific questions about what I did well or wrong, which is something that I did not do too often with Tom. With two team teachers, it was often what we did well together, but I hope to talk with my future mentor teacher about my individual skills and weaknesses. Lastly, having the time to engage more with the readings from classes and journals, and to organize them into a physical or digital toolkit to refer back to, is something that I look forward to doing and adding to throughout my career.