E1: Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice. Seeking to continually improve and grow has been a key practice for me as a student teacher these last four months. It is easy to become so consumed with the many daily and weekly tasks of planning, grading, teaching that often I would get to the end of a week and realize that I had not taken time to really reflect on why or why not certain aspects of my lessons did or did not go well. In asking for feedback from my mentor teacher, I often was given a short list of teaching-related things to consider adjusting for improvement. Along with personal reflection, I used this constructive criticism to set attainable daily goals for myself which not only allowed me to have small benchmarks to mark my own growth and development, but also created opportunities for me to have small professional successes such as improving my classroom management which contributed to the overall success of my students.
A specific example of feedback and goal setting emerged toward the end of my internship when my mentor teachers gave me feedback by way of a disposition assessment. Because effective teachers should exhibit dispositions that produce positive, constructive interaction with others, this assessment provides teacher candidates the opportunity to reflect and receive input regarding personality, temperament and outlook all of which contribute to actions and patterns of conduct. After receiving feedback from my mentor teachers, I was then able to set some professional goals for myself. With these newly set goals, I have the opportunity to monitor my personal progress, growth and development in these specific areas, moving forward.
Willingness to seek-out and gracefully receive constructive criticism from colleagues is the mark of a teacher who is always seeking self-improvement and professional development. Moving forward, setting personal and professional goals and taking the time to self-reflect on my progress toward those goals will prevent me from becoming stagnant, too comfortable or unobservant of what does and does not work in the classroom.