Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Professional Disposition

As a candidate of the School of Education of California State University San Marcos, following is my professional disposition in my work with students, coworkers, families, and communities.

1.      Social Justice and Equity

I have the utmost respect for all of the students and their families. I believe that all people are created equal and deserve respect and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I greet all students and their parents (Back to School Night)—even those not in my classes. I listen and respond immediately to address questions and concerns. Nothing is to big or to small to ask. I don’t make assumptions about students based on how they look (race, gender, culture, special needs). I treat students as individuals. I have compassion for everyone and see all of us as connected through this one world we share.

All people are equal and deserve the same chance to have a life that fulfills them, is rewarding, and safe. I believe everyone deserves an education and access to resources. I use this philosophy as a basis for work with students, parents, coworkers, and administrators in and out of class, and in the community.

I welcome all students to share their perspectives and backgrounds in class (in groups, to the whole class, and in pairs). Materials include diverse authors representing many countries and issues. My job is to give student information from many sources and let them make up their minds to choose what to believe and think for themselves.  It’s from different perspectives that we learn the most about ourselves, our values, and beliefs. 

2.      Collaboration

My cooperating teacher and I meet weekly to collaborate with each other, other teachers, the English Department, counselors, and parents for curriculum, student advocacy, class advocacy, and meet the needs of English learners and special needs students, and the success of all students. I provide ideas to enrich the conversation. I listen to students, parents (back to school night), other teachers (during meetings and observations), and my co-teacher. I find ways to make shared visions into reality. We can accomplish more together.

We incorporate ideas, needs, and viewpoints from surveys, assessments, informal observation, and emails to build relationships and provide an environment that works for everyone. In the classroom (especially during partner and group work) I model and discuss and how to collaborate and provide space for other people’s ideas. We provide sentence frames and practice for students to share perspectives, draw conclusions, ask for clarification, request assistance, agree, disagree, affirm ideas, paraphrase, report a partners idea, report a groups idea, solicit a response, interject with an idea, share knowledge, and report knowledge.  

Everyone’s viewpoint is valid. Individual differences and opinions are highlighted as a positive.  I engage with other professionals to discuss how to include all students and differentiate instruction to meet their needs. I always maintain a level of respect for students, especially in classroom management. I check in with students to find out how they are and what they think. Each student brings a wealth of culture and experience. I listen, support, coach, and teach. I appreciate and solicit responses from students who volunteer as well as those who are more reserved in nature. Every perspective makes our class more valuable and diverse.

3. Critical Thinking

I seek information, explore ideas, and use a variety of sources online, through collaboration, in forums, and textbooks. I’m fully engaged in learning as much as possible about my practice. I give my practice and course work my best effort. I appreciate the methods courses, complete all assignments on time, and apply and experiment with what I’ve learned, applying strategies and methodologies to the teaching environment.

In all responses and discussions, in-person and online, I explore many possibilities. In group work I consider all team members and student’s opinions, ask question of myself, sources, and others to think creatively, and participate to my best ability. I anticipate and meet the students’ and others’ needs with materials, discussions, tools, and conversations.

As a co-teacher, I help students work through their problems. They seek my advice and counsel and see me as a leader in the classroom. I attend meetings to learn and discuss how to best support the needs of all learners (gifted, special needs, English language learners, low performing) and use that information to inform decisions.

4. Professional Ethics

Students’ safety and privacy are paramount. I care about the success of all students’ rights, diversity, and well-being. Student data and fellow co-teacher information shared is kept confidential. For research projects I obtain parents’ and students’ permission. I seek to understand and meet all students’ needs that I learn in formal and informal assessments and conversations. 

I use original ideas and analysis to complete assignments and present information that is thoughtful. I hold myself to high standards. Being prepared, early, and organized helps me keep an excellent work and education setting, which demonstrates and models my consideration and understanding that all time as precious and worthwhile. I stay abreast of the ever-changing school and state education policy and standards online, via forms, and in discussion so that I can keep current in my professional domain. I seek perspectives from teachers in many districts to learn about teacher unions and work environments to make sure my professional view is well rounded and informed.

5. Reflective Teaching and Learning

In life, and especially in the co-teaching collaborate environment, the opportunities to filter and analyze feedback and reflect abound. How the classroom flows and my relationship with my students is an instant and informal gauge of my teaching and learning. I reflect on myself, my interactions with others, and student’s results to check on my ability and needs for improvement. I stay abreast of trends and teaching and learning standards so that my work reflects relevancy.

I process and request feedback from others on my performance, ideas, and work. Collaboration and preparation with my co-teacher give me ways to improve my clinical practice, communication, assessments, and teamwork. I use feedback from colleagues, professors, and students to revise lessons, coursework, and activities. I don’t take feedback personally. Any comment is a possibility for me to consider. It’s important to remember what things are in my control that I can change. Reflection helps me remember to ask for help and be helpful to others.

It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you make amends and learn from them. My reflective teaching and learning helped me navigate through the start of the co-teaching program with my co-teacher. Because we evaluated ourselves and our relationship we were able to agree upon a new course of action in our collaboration and effectiveness. I’m grateful for reflection because when you’re in the middle of action it’s hard to be objective. It’s hindsight that brings about change and improvement.

6. Life-Long Learning

I believe we learn forever. The world is full of learning opportunities. Just going outside, interacting with people, and traveling near and far has helped me gain perspective and world knowledge. It’s broadened my schema.

While learning from the world, I’ve simultaneously been engaged in the pursuit of knowledge, through education and career, for the past 20 years. As a student of life, the world (travel), and as a professional working with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, I’ve sought experience and education, and applied my knowledge and skills in a variety of settings with a diverse mix of people. My educational and professional experience helps inform my ability to work with a variety of people from all disciplines and walks of life.

I make connections to myself, the world, and other people’s perspectives in my practice and when applying theory. In educational, social, and professional settings, I discuss topics of substance and value regarding issues that impact students, teachers, parents, politics, literature, community, and the world. My life-long goal is to be open, share my knowledge, and solicit information from others.

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