E3: Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies. As a part of making sure that all students are safe and accounted for, it is imperative that I am not only aware of my professional responsibilities and the various policies in place, but that I am prepared and able to actuate those responsibilities and procedures when necessary. During the course of my internship, on several occasions, I had the opportunity to become familiar with my responsibilities and the procedures in place to ensure student safety in case of fire. The first time the fire alarm went off during my first few weeks, I did not know what was expected of me—my mentor teacher and I had not discussed what to do incase of different emergencies. My mentor teacher walked me through what my responsibilities as a lead teacher would be: making sure all students exit the classroom, locking the door, taking a bright red clipboard, exiting the building and meeting at a designated place on the football field, holding up the red clip board so students know where to meet, taking attendance to ensure that all students are safe and accounted for and then passing the attendance to the appointed individual.
After this first fire drill, my mentor teacher and I discussed the various policies and procedures in place for a variety of potential situations and emergencies that could arise. After the initial panic and uncertainty of my role, our discussion of my responsibilities and the policies in place, increased my confidence and my ability to navigate potentially stressful and even dangerous situations calmly and responsibly. Although it was only a drill, this was the first time I really felt the weight of responsibility for my students’ safety. As I begin my teaching career, I am keenly aware of the importance of understanding all of my professional responsibilities, including familiarity with the policies my school has in place, particularly for emergencies. While I will daily feel the weight of responsibility for my students’ learning and development, I must also understand how to navigate and follow procedures according to policy for potentially dangerous, chaotic or unusual situations, in order to protect and ensure the safety of all students.