Providing Students with Multiple Ways of Accessing Content Materials.

H2: Honor student access to content material. Honor students’ right to learn means providing students with every opportunity to succeed. This includes making content materials accessible and available in different ways, to all students, not just those who happen to make it to class on any given day. During my internship, this meant creating a system so that all students, especially those who were absent, knew where and how to go about getting the work they missed. As part of this system, I accessed and frequently updated and uploaded documents to the high school’s “Fusion” page, so students and parents alike were able to access assignments and activities from home. For example, when I began teaching a unit on the novel, The Things They Carried, I posted the reading schedule for the unit on the “Fusion page” in addition to make “reading schedule” bookmarks, which I handed out in class. That way, if students were absent and did not receive a bookmark, or lost their bookmark, they would be able to access the Fusion page and see which chapters were due which days. In addition to the reading schedule, and other materials such as daily discussion questions, I created and posted an online discussion, so that those who were absent for our in-class Socratic Seminar, were able to have a mini, make-up seminar online.

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In this way, students were able to have a discussion, explore content topics of interest and make up the points for the discussion. According to Issues in Web-Based Pedagogy, online learning not only allows for flexibility of access, from anywhere and usually at anytime, but also allows participants to collapse time and space (Cole, 2000). Not only were students given multiple ways to participate in the learning activity, but, they were able to do so remotely and at a time of their own choosing, as long as they met the designated deadline. For students who did not have access to a computer at home, they were able to make-up seminars on the computers at school and for those who preferred to have hard copies of the work they missed, I designated a bin, in which I would place extra copies of the days assignment labeled with the date it was assigned, so students were able to quickly and easily access those materials. In these ways, not only are students given multiple ways to access content materials, but also are given the opportunity for agency and responsibility to seek out and complete missed work. Supporting students in taking ownership of their own education is a key part of the learning process, and I was encouraged to see students taking personal responsibility and accessing content materials when given the opportunity through established policies and procedures.

Resource: Cole, R. A. (2000). Issues in Web-based pedagogy: A critical primer. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

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Exemplifying my Understanding of Professional Responsibilities and Policies

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.

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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.