E3 – Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies. Teacher candidates demonstrate knowledge of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and policies. Essentially, this means that teacher candidates are learning about the responsibilities for professional growth within the field and the ethics of improving as a professional. The Collaborative Learning Notes – Germanis taken about improving professional practices through Collaborating, Coaching and Consulting provide evidence to my learning in this HOPE standard. The assignment was to make notes about how professional teachers continue growing in their role as teachers and the importance of growth for job satisfaction. The notes start by addressing the professional issue of burnout and then turn to collaboration and relationships as the solution to this concern. Additionally, through connections with my internship, collaboration with other staff and professional growth are performance requirements for some teacher evaluation models.
Within this work sample, I am learning about the responsibility of seeking help, especially as new teachers become more confident in their role. Teachers should continue to collaborate with one another through professional learning communities, critical friends, coaching or professional circles. It would be irresponsible to continue learning about the current generation of students when attempting to teach. Since students needs are continuously evolving, teacher are responsible for meeting the new needs of students as a whole. Professional development within the school can help teachers (even veteran teachers) overcome some systematic obstacles.
Students are directly impacted by professional development through collaboration. From experience, some students claim that teacher X is better than teacher Y because teacher X does A, B and C. Within professional learning communities (PLC), teacher X could share with all of the other teachers their success in addressing a particular issue and the PLC could provide suggestions to create a homogeneous plan to address specific student concerns. During a classroom visit last spring, I had the privilege of participating in a PLC at a local high school. It was powerful to see the suggestion from coworkers for the teacher presenting his problem to receive suggestions to better support students.
From participating in the note taking activity, I learned about the various types of professional development that can happen at a school. In my internship, I am not experiencing good teacher collaboration…it’s not built into the culture of the school and only one or two teachers at the school teach the same subject. I also came to realize the important of staff relationships for new teacher to reduce burnout. Creating a strong working community could potentially reduce loneliness when many teachers can discuss similar work related issues and develop improvement plans.
While my school does not actively participate in joint teacher collaboration, within my internship, I am excited to work with my mentor teacher to address professional issues well. We have vibrant discussions about student working with IEP’s and my responsibility to adjust my teaching to meet those students’ needs. We talk about lesson planning and specifically how our goals will meet the needs of our students. One case of this has been in observing him teach a particular class, we have collaborated and he has told me that he is learning from these conversation, even after 30+ years of teaching. There is a lot of power in collaboration and professional learning teams. Throughout this year, I intent to be intentional about connecting with this teacher about our teaching philosophies to meet student’s needs. After this year, I hope to intentionally join a school where professional development is important within the school’s culture. This will be the topic of one questions I may ask in my interviews when applying for different schools.