Standard Reflection H4

February 18, 2013

H4 – Honor family/community involvement in the learning process.

Schools serve more than the students attending, but also the families and communities that surround them. Sometimes these interactions are indirect, but have a great impact. Honoring the family or community’s involvement in the learning process is an important way to help students learn, gain support, and keep education relevant.

communityartifact

At the school where I am interning, my mentor teacher and the students in his class make a positive impact in the school and surrounding community. They do this by offering services to the surrounding schools and organizations. In the Production Graphics class clothes are screen printed, banners are constructed, and plaques are made. All of these things are building connections within the school and within the surrounding community. For example, a local elementary school asked the class if anyone would like to make a banner in recognition for their recent listing as one of the coolest schools in America. One of the students in the class volunteered. This particular volunteer had actually been a former student at this elementary school, and her passion for her former school helped her create an amazing banner. Her banner was even featured in a magazine in an article about that school. Another example of community involvement would be the many t-shirts that the class makes. People from all over the community call or email to see if the class has the availability to make custom t-shirts for their particular group. Most often, these t-shirts are printed in order to raise awareness or help a charitable cause, such as breast cancer awareness or heart health. The students will actually design these t-shirts and give them back to the community, often to great acclaim. By connecting these students to ideals that are important in the community and then having them give so much back, it creates a great bond that I don’t think a lot of other classes have.

communityartifact2

Part of this standard is about integrating what is important to the community and families involved in the school in the learning process. By combining these values and ideas that are important around the school, education becomes more relevant and important to not only the students, but the community as well. Students connected to the community feel better about where they live, and better about what they’re learning making a more positive learning environment. Communities that are connected to their students offer more support and feel more invested in what their students are learning.

Connecting to families and the communities of the school is an important way to get students motivated and connected. Having these outside influences from the families and communities helps students connect with what they’re learning and creates an investment in what they’re doing. This is an important part of having that community involvement.

Although I am currently in a program that has the support to offer multiple services to the community, I do not think I will ever be in a program as great as this one. However, it is still important to get that community involvement. Connecting the community to what the students are doing and vice versa would be an important part of an art class. I think that part of how I could get this involvement would be to invite guest speakers from many different fields in the art world. These varied perspectives and artists would help students understand the opportunities around them. It would also help them get connected to artists from their own communities, and show them that what they’re learning is relevant and important to their lives.

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Standard Reflection E3

February 11, 2013

E3 – Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies.

Teacher’s relationships aren’t merely limited to the students that they teach, but also their peers, administration, and the parents and community that all have participation in their school. Part of this relationship is the understanding of how the school is run, and how each teacher has a responsibility to uphold the standards and help the school and students run smoothly. This is to the benefit of the entire school, students and teachers alike. Understanding and correctly practicing these responsibilities and polices makes the classroom and school a better learning environment.

Part of almost every teacher’s responsibilities lies in taking attendance. This simple act may be something that some teachers do quickly and without pausing for a moment, but some teacher may have to spend large amount of time on. It helps some teachers learn names, it helps some set routines, and some may have fallen into a routine  themselves. However, this simple exercise is extremely important. Attendance has a number important connections associated with it. For one, it keeps the teacher in contact with their peers and the rest of the school. If a particular student is gone, the school will know by that teacher’s attendance record, and this helps everyone adjust and address it accordingly. It also keeps students safe, and a student in school is statistically less likely to get into all sorts of trouble outside of the school. Keeping them to this standard makes sure they understand their responsibilities and hopefully gives them structure that helps them succeed. Attendance also helps parents keep track of their students, and the school can get into contact with them, as well. It  also may become a legal issue.

attendanceDuring my internship, I made many mistakes regarding taking attendance, but each helped me to improve and perform my responsibilities more adequately  This was mostly due to me overlooking quiet students, students trying to take advantage of me, and me being very busy and making mistakes during attendance taking. In one instance, every teacher for one student overlooked that she was not attending school that day. This list of teachers included me. I felt extremely disheartened by this, but I talked to a more experience teacher that had also made the mistakes and he let me know that sometimes teachers make mistakes, but we do our best to correct them and learn for next time. That really helped me take initiative to improve my understanding and practice of these responsibilities and how to improve for future experiences.

Being a teacher includes taking on these professional responsibilities that insures that the school community runs safely and provides a welcoming, safe, and effective learning environment for students. Knowing how the school addresses these areas so that I am aware and able to implement the chosen policies is an ever changing part of the job.

Undertaking the responsibilities of a teacher is immense. When I first started my internship I was very intimidated. Now these responsibilities  have  become a part of my routine, but I’m still making improvements. Sometimes students will make it difficult to fulfill these responsibilities, but that is why the policies are there to aid the teacher and the students able to learn and teach more effectively.

Students benefit from teachers understanding their professional responsibility. When a teacher is helping the school perform, the students see the benefits through a better learning environment. Every student should be safer and feel more welcome because of it. This does not work for every students situation, but each policy and responsibility is designed to make the best of it.

Standard Reflection H3

February 4, 2013

H3 – Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning.

As a teacher, one of the biggest impacts on your students is their learning environment and their peers. Part of making education for students as effective as possible is making the learning environment a safe and positive place where students feel comfortable. Also, students should be tolerant and accepting of their peers. No student should feel as if they are negatively judged, especially if these aspects are parts of themselves they have no control over, such as looks, race, gender, etc.

Part of creating an effective learning environment comes from creating a place where students feel most likely able to learn. An important part of this is classroom management. Setting clear goals and boundaries for students helps them focus on their education. For example, part of the problem with contemporary classrooms is the proliferation of cellphones. Almost every single student has one of these handy little devices. Unfortunately, cellphones offer a unique distraction in the classroom. Most cellphones allow students to talk to their friends, surf the internet, check their email, the list goes on and on. All of these little distractions add up to a large problem in the classroom. Fortunately, the school has a policy for cellphone use, but it is not widely enforced in every classroom. In my classroom, students are warned that if we see a cellphone they will be warned, confiscated, and even be used as reasoning to get into contact with their parents if the situation with their cellphone becomes too much of a detriment to their learning. By setting these standards, students can focus more on their learning, and less on using their cellphones. Students will sometimes have lapses, but letting them know that cellphone use in the class is unacceptable has really cut down on the major distraction it had become.

Classroom Management Plan

Also an important issue in helping make the classroom a safer learning environment is how we educate and help students treat their peers. In the high school where I an interning, there have been multiple instances where I have seen students mistreat other students to the point of a breakdown. On the other side of the spectrum, many students in my classes can positively interact with other students I am sure are not within their immediate group of friends. Part of strengthening this tolerant and accepting attitude comes from helping students understand another’s perspective. I think that group work is a great way to facilitate this communication, though it isn’t as effective for some students as others. Sometimes, the tolerance and understanding is so far from the minds of these students that separation becomes more beneficial for the health of one or more parties. By building relationships in the classrooms between students and between the teacher and student, it is easier to see where these problems may arise and be able to circumvent it in group exercises. Most group work that has taken place in my class seems to help some of the kids that have been more withdrawn actually take an interest in what they were learning.

By improving these areas in the classroom it benefits the students directly. One of the most important parts of the classroom is the effective learning environment teachers create for their students.

To better improve tolerance and understanding in my class, I think group activities designed to strengthen bonds and acceptance of others in the classroom would be more apt. I’m not sure exactly how to integrate these as portions of my lessons, but I am sure there are many ways to approach this topic to improve building these relationships.

Standard Reflection- H5

January 7, 2013

H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society.

Helping students understand what it means to be an upstanding individual and how society views them is an important lesson that teachers can  include in many parts of their classroom. For example, utilizing classroom management techniques, teachers can help students understand respect for the teacher and their peers. When these students enter the world, they will be more understanding and respectful due to their experiences in the classroom.

Student Handbook Technology Rules

In my school cellphone use such as texting or making calls is not allowed. More specifically, in my class, cellphone use is much more limited with students being directed to not even be listening to music from their phones. In many instances, students receive a warning if they are using their cellphone in class. In more extreme cases their phones would be confiscated til the end of the day. In one case, my mentor teacher warned a student, the student then used the phone soon after, and the phone was confiscated. The student acted belligerent when my mentor asked for it, throwing it into teachers hand. My mentor decided to talk with the student after school and even contact their parent due to the disrespectful nature of the interaction. The main goal of this was to have the student understand why what they did was disrespectful and not conducive to a respectful, effective learning environment.

As I continue in my internship, it has become apparent that many students have lapses with how they act in class and how they follow the rules and guidelines that help make the community an effective learning environment. Keeping the classroom clean, not using cellphones in class, and being quiet and attentive during lectures are constant challenges in classroom management. Most students usually don’t have malicious intent when they deviate from these rules, and usually just need a small reminder to get them back on track. The anecdote mentioned previously was an extreme case where the student acted inappropriately toward another person in in the classroom, specifically a teacher. Reinforcing that these disrespectful behaviors are not tolerated and helping them reform will help them in the future when they enter society as respectful individuals. It will also help them in the classroom, as part of an effective learning environment is a respectful community.

I would like to improve my classroom management to better assist students in growing their potential for being respectful and upstanding members of their community and society. Helping students understand their responsibilities and why it is beneficial to act in these ways is an important part of a teacher’s job and one that I hope improve by better communicating and upholding the standards that help students achieve their potential.

Standard Reflection- E2

November 16, 2012

E2 – Exemplify collaboration within the school.

Wenesday afternoon I went to a staff meeting with all the teachers. We discussed a few of the things average to most class meetings, but we also discussed something special. PBIS, or, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, is a schoolwide initiative that seeks to create a more effective learning environment by helping teachers and students respond to eachother with understanding and kindness. This movement was prompted by the administrations recent professional development that showed them strategies at other schools that help create a better school environment. They used a school in Walla Walla, WA that had implemented a similar change and had found that suspension rates, explusions, and written referrals had dropped considerably.

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Many of the teachers at the meeting had some feedback they wanted to give regarding this new policy. Through this, the administration lead the conversation into the sweeping reform that would have to take place throughout the school. The change would happen slowly, not only at the administrative level, but at the teaching level as well. By adopting these changes, the hope would be that the students and staff would benefit from a better and more effective learning environment.

Standard E2 relates to this as teacher candidates we seek to become more involved in school activites, and what better activity than an initiative to make the school a better place. Teachers take on the responsibility to engage their school community; the peers they work with and the students they teach. By communicating these changes to the teachers, the administration hopes to instigate community involvement to improve their school. Each teacher is responsible for adopting and integrating the new PBIS method, and I, too, will strive to implement this in my teaching. In the meeting, we talked about how we could implement this new PBIS method in personal examples, and I think that within our group we communicated some extremely effective examples of how and when to utilize the new PBIS method to create an effective learning environment.