Professionally-Informed, Growth-Centered Practices

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.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 1.03.43 AM

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.

A reflection on the relationship between the bPortfolio, the Principles of HOPE, and the WAC 181

Currently, with very few posts to our bPortfolios, there may not be overwhelming evidence of the interconnectedness of our bPortfolios, the Principles of HOPE, and the WAC 181. However, I am confident that as we continue to add various reflections and writings to our bPortfolios, the relationship between the Principles of HOPE, Washington Administrative Code (sec 181), and our professional online-portfolios will become more and more evident.

The Washington Administrative Code 181 outlines the state’s certification standards, and an important purpose of the bPortfolio is to document and provide evidence of competence on the Principles of HOPE, SPU’s vision for effective teaching based on the standards outlined in the WAC. SPU’s Principles of HOPE—Honor student diversity, development and their right to learn, Offer an organized and challenging curriculum, Practice effective teaching: inquiry, planning, instruction & assessment, Exemplify service to the teaching profession—are meant to encourage and instill a deep sense of responsibility, calling and purpose behind teaching.

The bPortfolio has many purposes, but in relationship to the Principles of Hope and WAC 181, the bPortfolio functions as a space for reflection on knowledge, skills, and growth attained throughout the teacher candidate’s journey toward certification, an organized demonstration of competency, and a collection of prepared examples of professional work and personal progress.