My Cooperating Teacher

Demonstrates Professional Demeanor and Ethical Behavior (Competency 25)
Each day I walked into Stonehouse Elementary I made sure to arrive promptly, dress appropriately, and display a positive and professional demeanor. During my last weeks of student teaching I was proud to have one of the teachers compliment me on my conscientious decision to dress nicely for school, saying "Thank you for dressing up. It really does influence the way the students interact with you." I firmly agree with her and feel that anyone's outward appearance has a great deal of impression on those around them. As a teacher I am a role model for my students and one of the many ways I can model appropriate behavior is to dress appropriately and professionally for school.

Participates In and Applies Professional Development (Competency 26)
During student teaching I attended monthly staff meetings and leadership meetings with my cooperating teacher. One of the monthly staff meetings addressed the AIMS web testing that would soon be used in WJCC and I was very interested to hear about this new form of assessment and the manner in which the district planned to revamp their testing over the upcoming years. During a my semester of methods courses I attended a Math Conference sponsored by the Tidewater Team at the College of William and Mary. At the two sessions I attended I learned invaluable information about patty paper and multiplying and dividing fractions with pattern pieces.

Demonstrates Effective Oral and Written (Communication 27)
I believe in the power of early and frequent communication with parents and families, in order to establish a relationship and ultimately support the my students' success in the classroom. During the first few weeks of school I sent home a note to introduce myself to the families of my students and give them a brief overview of my role as a student teacher in their child's classroom. As a full time student teacher I sent home weekly newsletters to parents and even helped my cooperating teacher revamp her own newsletter template to make it more reader friendly and accessible. In addition to developing communication with parents and families I maintained constant communication with my cooperating teacher. We would meet before school, throughout the school day, during lunch, and after school to go over the day's plan, discuss positives and negatives of my lessons, and plan for future lessons. Our seemingly never-ending communication became the foundation for a wonderful relationship that I plan to keep intact over the course of my future teaching career.

Collaborate with Members of the School Community (Competency 29)
As a student teacher I have collaborated and built a professional rapport with numerous individuals in the school community, including my cooperating teacher, other 3rd Grade teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, administration, parents, and families. The very first collaborative relationship I established formed within the first days of school between myself and my cooperating teacher, Wendy Miller. Over the course of the school year this relationship has grown immensely due to the frequent and steadfast line of communication between us. She is always willing to provide support, advice, and assistance to help me grow as an effective educator and I have learned countless tricks of the trades and helpful tips from her mentoring.

My 3rd Grade Team

At least once each week the 3rd Grade Team met for planning, at which time we shared lesson ideas, assessments, asked for advice, and brainstormed ways to make learning more exciting and engaging for our students. The teachers at Stonehouse are grateful to have a "power block" planning period once each week, which is made possible by the fact that the paraprofessionals watch the students during a 15-min extended recess. The extended recess takes place right before centers, such that teachers have a block of 1 hour and 30 minutes to plan. The team worked like a well oiled machine, making lesson planning effective and efficient. Outside of this established planning time, we frequently emailed each other ideas for lessons and materials that we had created. Beyond the scope of my 3rd Grade team, I participated in school wide staff meetings, leadership meetings, and retirement celebrations in an effort to build relationships and collaborate with other members of the school.
Stonehouse Carnival

In an attempt to create a positive and professional rapport with families and parents of the students in my class, I not only wrote weekly newsletters, but also made an effort to attend school events. I participated in Back to School Night, greeting parents and making myself known as a member of their child's classroom. I attended numerous parent conferences, IEP meetings, and child study meetings, ultimately working alongside my cooperating teacher and our school counselor to implement a student action plan. I volunteered at the Stonehouse Carnival in an effort to help my school and continue to build a positive rapport with families and students. Additionally, I attended Family SOL Night, an evening set up to introduce 3rd Grade parents to the SOLs as it is the first year that students take these assessments. Finally, I went to watch my students practice ballet or cheer leading whenever I had the opportunity, feeling that this strengthened my relationship with my students and families of these students. I believe strongly that if a parent or family member knows that you as a teacher have his or her child's best interest in heart and that you are working toward the same end goal, then the child will ultimately reap the benefits of this relationship.

Reflect Actively and Continuously Upon Professional Practice (Competency 27)
Though critical to success and development as a teacher, collaboration is not the only aspect involved in being an effective classroom teacher. Collaboration pulls on the interpersonal strengths of an individual and their ability to communicate with others. However, an effective educator must also realize that they need to develop their ability to examine their own personal actions, demeanor, flaws, and thoughts. Every word spoken and every lesson taught impacts the lives of the student sitting before me and I understand the power that I have to examine my own actions and make changes to better meet the needs of my students. After every lesson I reflect, either formally or informally, on my actions, explanations, and teachings and how these were conveyed to my students. As part of my mathematics course I taught a lesson on rounding and formally reflected upon and critiqued the lesson. Additionally, I taught a lesson on soil and videotaped it for my university supervisor. I then took time to watch the video and reflect carefully upon the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson, commenting on the introduction, teaching strategies used, questioning techniques, formative and summative assessments used, and overall effectiveness of the lesson. I found it interesting to have the opportunity to "replay" my teaching and critically examine each part of the lesson, realizing the benefits of video recording. Finally, I also informally reflect, as shown in this poetry lesson in which I quickly typed up notes based on the lesson taught. As teachers we might have little time in the day to sit down and formally reflect, but I feel that it is always important to reflect informally by either jotting down notes or thinking through the lesson after teaching. No matter how experienced a teacher I may become I fully understand that I will forever benefit from reflecting upon past teaching to adjust future teaching.

Demonstrates Potential for Teacher Leadership (Competency 30)100_2832.JPG
During my time as a student teacher I made great efforts to demonstrate my potential as a teacher leader. As a member of the 3rd Grade team I not only participated in weekly team meetings, but also shared my materials with members of my team frequently. In fact, I have shared powerpoint slides, such as my Jaques Cartier presentation, George Washington slideshow, and Soil presentation. I even gave my colleagues a mini workshop on how to create movies using the website, due to the fact that they were so thrilled by the video included in the Jacques Cartier presentation. Additionally, I went beyond my responsibilities as a student teacher and acted as a proctor for the SOL writing prompt to assist the 5th grade teachers in administering their assessments. In the five weeks prior to the SOL I took part in an after school program entitled "Rock the Test", in which I worked with a small group of students to help them prepare for the upcoming SOLs. Every Tuesday and Thursday we spent an hour going over SOL reading passages and math questions to give these students an extra boost for the SOL. I plan to use the little jingle (Uh huh! Uh Huh! I'm smart! I'm smart! I'm smart!) my cooperating teacher made up for students to sing after getting the correct answer in my future classroom. The little song created a fun atmosphere, really motivated these students to always try their best, and more importantly gave them the confidence to succeed.

Throughout student teaching I truly learned the importance of frequent communication, collaboration, strong commitment to students, parents, and families, and building positive rapports within and outside the school community. I believe that I had had a positive influence on my colleagues, students, and parents and families of the students in my class and that I grew to become a teacher leader in my school community. These qualities and skills will prove to serve me well in my future teaching career.