Standard One: Roles and Relationships
Meeting Standard One:
The student teacher establishes a routine that students understand and respect. Activities reflect careful thought, take into account student development 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 her/himself 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 sage 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 teacher consistently models appropriate decorum and exercises control without intimidation or domination, promoting a genuine democratically-based classroom.
Meeting and Exceeding Standard One: Self-Reflection
Relationships with Students:
I am constantly working on ways to develop meaningful, sincere relationships with the students in my class. In my current student-teaching position, it was a challenge to win over students, but as time went on, I made one-on-one connections with individuals, slowly winning over the entire class. I love this about teaching! I have attempted to show both my warm and strict sides, and as I am coming close to the end of my time with the students I know that they expect me to be both things—both caring and warm while still maintaining high expectations. I have pulled troubled students after class to talk about setting goals for my class. I have also met with students to give extra help. Sincerity is a personal characteristic that means a great deal to me; my students know this to be true of me and I ask it to be true of them in return.
Expectations of Students:
My Personal Inquiry Project is on two-way accountability (See “Personal Inquiry Project” on horizontal tab.) I have worked very hard to keep high expectations for my students, and in doing so have had to raise my expectations of myself. It takes a lot of work to meet every student at his or her level, and although I am only a beginning teacher, I believe I have had some success in forcing my students to work at a very high level. I have made folders for students to keep track of their work; I keep a daily assessment sheet that tracks student progress and attendance; I also made paragraph-rubrics that included “I Statements,” which helped students take ownership of their writing. I have been very transparent about the things students need to do to be successful in my class—I believe that this has helped several of them.
Relationships with Colleagues and the School Community:
While it was difficult coming into my student-teaching placement in the middle of the year, I feel that I have developed some very meaningful relationships with colleagues and with other students in the school. I completed 60+ hours of observations—visiting several teachers and learning bits of information from each of them. I have the blessing of working with a wonderful cooperating teacher and have also met another teacher with whom I share my successes, frustrations, and ideas. I am very excited to begin my career and to collaborate with members of a school community.
- "This I Believe" Statements
- "Where I'm From" Poem
On my first day with my 12th grade students, I wrote a “This I Believe” statement, (see below). This statement was written instead of a Letter of Introduction because I wanted to start a personal, intimate connection with my students right away. My 12th graders were very reluctant to write these statements, but after two class periods, every student had written that they believed in something. The last document in this section is a poem I wrote entitled “Believing.” This poem was read to the class and includes every student voice. I think that this activity is one I will return to in my future teaching positions. I also believe that this activity set the tone early on in the class that I was in the room for them, and for nothing else.
“This I Believe”
I believe in luck—chance, or fate, even destiny—whichever you choose to call it. I believe I have had a great deal of help getting to where I am today.
My mother believes in faith. When she had me, her seventh child at forty-four years old, she also had colon cancer. My sisters, brothers, and father also believed in faith, for they bottle-fed me as an infant because my mother was too weak and prayed that she survive. She did—and went on to battle cancer again when I was six. She survived that, too. My family understands that luck—or chance, or fate, or destiny—was on our side. How could we believe otherwise?
My father believes in hard work, but he also believes in luck. He met my mother at a high school prom in 1958; she had moved to Columbus, Ohio from Guatemala in 1954, while he was in the Air Force. They were married just eight months after they met and started our very large family shortly after. My father worked as a fireman while my mother stayed home to care for my siblings. He worked very hard to support our family, taking on extra jobs for our family to get by—but he will be the first to tell that something greater than himself was on our side. I often ask my mother why on earth my grandfather chose to move to Columbus, Ohio from Guatemala. She has never known the answer. I believe it had something to do with fate.
I believe in luck—chance, or fate, even destiny—whichever you choose to call it. When I was in the sixth grade, a great aunt that I had never met died. I had never met her, but she would go on to change my life. She endowed a scholarship to Oberlin College, the college I would eventually attend and love. I would study abroad there, in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, and eventually realize that I was called to be a teacher. Some call it luck that an aunt I had never met would give me the gift of education—I call it luck, too.
These, and several other instances that have surfaced in my life, make me a believer in luck and chance. Because I am a believer, I can see an opportunity coming from a mile away.
On my first day with the 11th grade students, I had prepared a poem entitled, “Where I Come From” for my students. This poem allowed me to share little pieces of information about myself with my students. After the students read my poem, I asked them to come up with lists of “details” from their lives to be put in a folded piece of paper that made 6 boxes. The boxes were labeled “Things in my room,” “Things in my house,” “Things in my yard or on my porch,” “Sayings from my family or friends,” “Names of Relatives,” and finally, “Food that is special to my home or family.” The students then put their details into the form of a poem. This was a great activity for me to get to know my students; it allowed us all to be vulnerable. When the students shared their poems, I handed out post-its for students to write comments about details they enjoyed from each other’s poems. This required that students listened and also that they be thoughtful with their responses. At the end of our very first class, students had written a poem and had also received feedback from their peers.
Artifact: Student Recommendation
I asked one of my students to write a recommendation for me to attend a seminar on Theater. This student completed the recommendation and sent it to me to be "checked." I was truly humbled by the things she had to say. She remembered activities that I had done and she described me in a way that I had hoped all students would. I was so very happy to read the recommendation and to reflect upon what she had said. This artifact is placed under "Roles and Relationships" because I believe it speaks great lengths about the kind of bonds I form with students. This is truly one of the best recommendations I have every received.