PSMT Standard Group #5: Responsibilities and Relationships to the School, Classroom, and Student

5. RESPONSIBILITIES AND RELATIONSHIPS TO THE SCHOOL, CLASSROOM, AND STUDENT

Systematic reflection to organize and improve teaching and develop effective relationships, including the ability to:

a. Uphold the State of Michigan Professional Code of Ethics and engage in meaningful self-evaluation; Every week I wrote a reflective journal in which I expressed my feelings and connected growth in the five Habits of Mind every teacher should strive to internalize.

Click here to view my journal reflections during my student teaching semester

b. Identify and use current research to reflect on and improve one’s own practice related to content, technology, pedagogy, and other factors that impact student achievement; In teaching Writing Workshop I used of Lucy Caulkin’s texts Launching the Writing Workshop, modifying certain aspects so that it better fit my students’ needs.

Additionally, in the completion of my Action Research Project, I used current educational research to help better understand how to increase confidence and motivation.  In particular, my annotated bibliography at the end of the paper explains how I used each source.
Click here to view my Action Research project and annotated bibliography.

c. Develop positive relationships with other teachers, parents/guardians, students, administrators, counselors, and other personnel to benefit students and to influence one’s own professional growth; During my student teaching placement, I was involved in parent-teacher conferences, and even got to lead a few of them.   Additionally, throughout the semester I kept in close contact with two parents, in particular, who wanted to be kept up-to-date regarding their children’s daily behavior in school.

I also developed a strong relationship with my second grade colleague as we collaboratively discussed science/social studies lessons.

d. Analyze the effects of teacher dispositions, decisions, and actions upon others (e.g., families, other personnel, and all students, including those with disabilities) and adjust interactions accordingly; In my personal reflections, which I kept daily, I recorded how my feelings may have affected my ability to teach my students.  I also was able to see both positive and negative influences of teacher attitudes on implementation of school-wide initiatives.  Whether learning from myself or others I always tried to put my learning into a beneficial practice.
e. Embrace and model teaching as a lifelong learning process and continue efforts to develop professionally; At the beginning of student teaching I told my students that I was going to be working in their classroom in order to teach them, but also to learn from them.  I assured them that I would be constantly learning from them how to be an effective teacher.  During my experience I was also able to take part in a number of in-service learning and training days with other teachers.
f. Involve and work effectively with parents/guardians and implement schoolwide parent involvement plans to maximize opportunities for student achievement and success; Each Friday morning the second graders in my student teaching placement wrote in Letter Journals, in which they wrote to a parent or guardian about what we did in school that week, and the parents were encouraged to write back to their child over the weekend. Click here to see examples of students’ letter journals.

Parent-teacher conferences also provided an opportunity to keep parents up-to-date on their children’s progress and address any concerns they might have.  This year in my student teaching placement we had 100% turnout at conferences.

For two students during my student teaching placement we implemented behavior plans, and the parents signed them each evening so that they were aware of what happened daily at school.  The involvement of the parents was hugely beneficial.

g. Interact with parents/guardians using best practices for personal and technology-based communication, to maximize student learning at school, home, and in the local community; and My students teaching placement has a classroom Twitter account and a classroom website, both of which are updated daily, that parents can access at any time, and has photographs, examples of student work, and important reminders.

Students also write in their Letter Journals every Friday morning, in which they explain to their parents what we have done at school this past week, and parents are encouraged to write back.  In this way, the students are keeping their parents and guardians updated about school.

At the beginning of the school year an initial letter was sent home, introducing parents and students to second grade, and when I started teaching full-time in October, I sent home my own introduction letter to parents, which was also posted on the classroom and Twitter websites. Click here to view my brief introductory letter.

h. Participate in the development of individualized plans for students with disabilities (Individual Education Plan (IEP)). As my final inquiry project in Education 202, I created IEPs for “hypothetical” students of with varying special needs or learning differences.  In this way, I considered various ways to accommodate students with learning differences. Click here to view an excerpt of this project.

During my semester of student teaching, although I was not involved in the formal development of an IEP, I was very involved in developing a plan to help a young boy with Bipolar disorder in our classroom, and creating accommodation for his within the classroom environment, including allowing him to move his seat, coming up with alternate assignments, and providing tasks for him to take part in when he needed to be removed from a situation that was overwhelming him.