H1 – Honor student diversity and development. Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt learner centered curricula that engage students in a variety of culturally responsive, developmentally, and age appropriate strategies. This means that the teacher is planning for students needs based on experience or historical understanding of students. The teacher is adjusting lessons to engage students at an appropriate level to maximize understanding based on experience and student culture. One of my moral obligations as a teacher is to encourage students to go to college and help students realize avenues for achieving college, such as funding and support. Outside of the school environment, I associate with the College Success Foundation, a Washington State Organization which is aimed at helping students who would not traditionally attend college, find ways of pursuing higher education. The school where I work has an ethnic population of about 42% (Washington State Report Card, 2014). While working with these students, as a former scholar of the College Success Foundation and my learning of their contributions to divers populations, I can speak with students about the contributions of this organization and help students learn about options for higher education. This includes work with students who are undocumented United States Residents. For these students in particular, college is a challenging and scary path to pursue because many barriers block these students from higher education.
This year, I have talked with all of my classes about my experiences as a College Success Foundation Scholar and the experiences I have received working with a diverse community. While sharing of experience for higher education is not formal instruction, many of these students are planning for higher education and need an experienced person to help them through the process. As a current college student, I have a lot of relevant knowledge that can directly help students.
Currently, I am reading a book called Teaching as Inquiry by Weinbaum et al. (2004), where in one vignette, a middle school english teacher is discussing how to encourage students to find a love for reading. She models her love of reading to the students by sharing the recent books she has read and shares a brief synopsis of the book she is about to read. This teacher is encouraging behaviors by modeling those behaviors in her own classroom. I am impacting students of diverse cultures by modeling what a good college student looks like, and sharing my experiences with an organization which caters to first generation, undocumented, foster and low income students who are interested in pursuing higher education.
I would like to implement more direct culturally sensitive material within my classroom, but haven’t had a good opportunity yet because of the current curriculum track we are using. When writing assessments (yes, my mentor teacher and I collaborate to write context based questions) I am sure to review the context of those questions to ensure we are not discriminating against a student who doesn’t understand the context of the question. For example, in order to introduce a question about golf and using words on an assessment such as “tee,” “fairway” or “green,” students need to be introduced to this before the assessment to ensure fair testing conditions for all students.
Washington State Report Card. (2014). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=3601&reportLevel=School&year=2013-14
Weinbaum, A. (Ed.). (2004). Teaching as inquiry: Asking hard questions to improve practice and student achievement (Vol. 30). Teachers College Press.