Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Online Assignment #1 - Juli Rangel

I am a 2nd grade teacher and consider myself in the Professional Phase on the Life Cycle of the Career Teacher continuum. For my Professional Growth Plan, I’ve chosen to focus on the goals of 1) Using instructional strategies that make learning meaningful and show positive impact on student learning, 2) Using a variety of assessment strategies and data to monitor and improve instruction and 3) Integrating technology into instruction and assessment. These 3 goals are relevant to my stage of professional development because I currently feel more capable in addressing them in a more thorough way. After spending numerous hours progressing through the novice phase as well as the apprentice phase, I have grown in self-confidence and built a broad repertoire of instructional approaches. I have the “nuts and bolts” of my classroom established, and my “head” is freer to look more deeply into my job performance and more importantly into my students’ behavior and growth. Our Steffy book tells us “to maintain professional growth, teachers must continually experience or initiate a process of reflection and renewal.” Although I feel I have been engaging in the reflection and renewal process informally from the onset of my career, I am now more ready to identify areas of self-improvement. Our Steffy book also acknowledges how challenging it can be to find the time for this important process, something I relate to all too well!

After my professional growth, I hope my students will be able to understand and respect how each person has a unique learning profile, a profile that contains weaknesses and strengths that affect how we learn and get along socially each day. I want my students to build their own repertoire of strategies to better address any breakdowns in their learning as well as be able to identify their strengths and affinities. I also hope my students will begin to monitor their own learning progress more regularly as well as establish goals for future growth. Lastly, I hope my 2nd graders will see technology as a tool to enhance and showcase their learning rather than solely as a tool to play games!

As I continue to work on my Professional Growth Plan and apply it to my Teaching and Learning Plan in the area of reading, I’m struck by the probing questions that ask me to not only reflect on my teaching but also the learning and growth of my students. Honestly, I have felt challenged and a little overwhelmed at times in attempts to answer the questions thoroughly. Even though I feel like a skillful teacher who is appreciated and acknowledged by my peers and principal, and I feel that I inherently address many of the best practices criteria in my classroom daily, I can tell this formal reflection and renewal practice will require careful assessment of my teacher effectiveness. Not an easy task, but worthwhile if I want to make a difference in my students’ lives!

2 comments:

Kathryn Kristian said...

Dear Juli,

I enjoyed reading your post! I like how you stated your hope for your students in the area of technology: "...a tool to enhance and showcase their learning rather than solely as a tool to play games!". As one of my professional goals is to improve the use of technology classroom, I share the same hope! At this time, I can think of numerous ways of integrating technology into my instruction, but there are so many steps that need to be taken before I can reach that point. In my 2 years as a second grade teacher, I've only touched the surface in using technology as a tool to enhance learning through sites such as "Starfall", "One more Story", and "BrainPop jr.". I certainly have not used it to showcase learning (other than showing student work on the document camera) and would be interested to hear your ideas.

When I reflect back on when I was a resource room teacher, I realize that was using technology as an accommodation for students with learning disabilities, especially in writing. I can integrate technology into my current classroom in this same way, by allowing students to use a word processor as they write their stories in Writer's Workshop. I also plan on consulting my colleagues who are much further along in using technology, and would be happy to pass along what I learn.

Thank you,
Kate

Christina Spencer said...

Juli,

I really appreciated your honest reflection on your process of creating your teaching and learning plan. I have felt some of the same feelings. I think we may have some parallel experiences. Thank you for being candid in your response. I think that as teachers in the professional phase there are so many things that we do that are instinctual and that aren't necessarily revolutinary but make a huge impact on student development. I know this process of self-reflection and renewal will benefit you and your student's greatly. I'm hoping that the process will work in my favor as well!

Christina