Collaboration and Professional Expectations

In previous eras, a typical picture of a teacher was a person by themselves manging sets of students. As the years have progressed and the educational community has changed, this image of a singluar teacher maintaining a classroom has decreased. With the passage of the No Child Left Behind law in 1997 and its mandate concerning special education and general education, the single-teacher image has been reduced to a myth. Schools are now emphasizing collaboration between and among teachers, special educators, counselors, school psychologists, and other professionals, and I have seen this in my time student-teaching. I have worked very closely with my cooperating teacher during the practicum and student-teaching, and I have also worked with a special education paraprofessional and a math specialist. I have also had interactions with the administration, counselors, media specialists, and technology specialists, and all of these people have helped me with instruction or dealing with student behavior. As I begin a full-time teaching career, I will carry the expectation of working well with other professionals to help students succeed with me wherever I go. I also have other expectations for myself as a professional, and these include keeping a positive attitude throughout the year, reaching students where they are mentally and emotionally, and participating in activities above and beyond the madatory first-year teaching requirements.

Reflecting on Teaching

This is one of the four major strands identified by the School of Education in which teacher candidates must be proficient, and this is something that I do regularly. After each day I take a few minutes and write thoughts about each class, both how the class behaved and what I could have done differently in instruction to better explain or present the content. Further, when formally scoring quizzes or informally grading other formative assessment, I employ the data received to make instructional decisions about the next classes in the unit. For two lessons that I taught in early February, I wrote a more formal reflection on how the lesson went and what I could have done better to improve the content or flow of the lesson. These are:

Nathan Belcher_Movement of Objects Lesson Plan and Reflection.pdf
Nathan Belcher_Newton's Laws of Motion and Reflection.pdf

Other examples of comments to myself are:
  • From 2 April 2010: "I gave them the melting blocks and had them observe properties about the blocks. I then brought around ice and had them watch it melt, which began right away with the metal block. They were very confused at first, but I was able to get [an explanation] out of them eventually."
  • From 13 April 2010: "[I] had to cut off the video short, because we ran out of time. We took longer in the quiz explanation section and WYW than expected, so lost some time there."
  • From 16 April 2010: "Changed the seating, and it went better. I will see how it works, and perhaps change a couple of more seats."