Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Online Assignment #1 - Mary Loftus

My three professional growth goals relate to where I am in the professional phase. I believe that my goals that I have chosen are goals that will help me grow as a professional teacher and move into the expert phase. As I reflect on my seventh year of teaching, I feel that I have made that shift from concerns such as being able to juggle all of the teacher responsibilities, and being able to handle situations within the staff. Now my concerns focus on my students are learning, coping with peer pressure, and building relationships with my students. It is important that I focus on working better with the parents the staff and community of the school. One statement that I feel reflects how I am now is from the book we are reading “Life Cycle of the Career Teacher”, by Betty E. Steffy, Michael P.Wolfe, Suzanne H. Pasch and Billie J. Enz. It is located in chapter 1 in the section on Professional Teacher. “The professional phase emerges as teachers grow in their self-confidence”. I know that I have become much more confident in my teaching and working with students and parents since my first few years of teaching.” Another statement in the same section is “Students view professional teachers as patient, kind, understanding, and helpful. In turn, these teachers view themselves as student advocates.” I definitely view myself as a student advocate. I believe that it is very important as a teacher to help be the voice of the students.

The relationship of my Professional Growth Goals to my Teaching and Learning Plan is to help provide guidance for me to follow. By establishing my goals in my Professional Growth Goals I can turn to my Teaching and Learning Plan to help me attain my goals. The Teaching and Learning Plan will give me the details that I need to focus on in order to attain my goals.

Goal 1: Using appropriate classroom management principles, processes, and practices to foster a safe, positive, student-focused learning environment.

Over the seven years of teaching I have evaluated my classroom management for areas that need improvement, one area I want to focus on is establishing my classroom rules at the beginning of the school year with clear and concise expectations. By establishing and teaching my expectations at the start of the school year and reteaching the expectations after winter and spring breaks; I hope to set a safe and positive tone for my classroom and my students. This will ensure my students will be able to achieve their goals and dreams. Positive reinforcement will come naturally as they learn to follow directions and stay on task so all can learn. At my current school we work with a program called “Wise Skills”. This program focuses on values and behaviors that all of us need to work on. “Responsibility” is the behavior we are working on this month. This is discussed with the students in class and ideas are shared amongst them to determine how being responsible with help them become a better person and foster a better learning environment. While I use this program with my students, I feel that I need to relate it to my lesson plan more often to positively enforce this behavior to my students.

Goal 2: Integrating technology into instruction and assessment.

My goal is to use online technology to further instruct my students in health class. I record my grades on the grade pro software that we use at our school. While this software does support online grading, our school does not use this option. Our school is looking at using this in the near future. I look forward to this as it is a quicker way to view the students work and for parents to keep up to date. I have used the online options for my health class, for three assignments this year. I feel that I can reach some students who may not grasp the information in a traditional format. With our society moving towards using computers in white and blue collar workforces, it is my duty to help provide education in this subject area.

My students will be able to log on to the computer, log onto the internet, locate the website and be able to complete the assignment. The other aspect that I like about technology with my students is that they are able to learn more through the internet and they will be in charge of their learning. The students will learn and demonstrate the responsible and ethical use of technology. Our school is fortunate in that we have a computer lab and the students have access to it with teacher supervision.

Goal 3: Informing, involving, and collaborating with families and community members as partners in each student's educational process, including using information about student achievement and performance.

Currently I send home progress reports and report cards. I do not talk to or send enough emails to parents when I have some concerns with their child. By choosing this goal I want to make this a priority in my Professional Growth Plan. I want to set aside more time to talk with parent’s weather good or bad news to make contact with them to discuss how they as parents can be a support to their child’s learning. I will continue to stop and speak to parents as I see them. Sometimes this is the best way to work through things that may have occurred that day. The other aspect that I want to work to improve is being able to establish a plan to serve underserved populations. This will enhance the learning for all of the students who are in this category. By working on all of these practices the students and parents will be gaining more, learning and understanding my expectation as their child’s teacher and therefore their child will be at their highest learning performance.

1 comment:

Juliana Kirmeyer said...

Hi Mary,

Thank you for sharing your unique perspective. With regard to classroom management I completely agree that it is important to be consistent - which can be hard as one's energy can diminish as the year progresses.

I can imagine that in a gym environment the boundaries are moveable and it can sometimes seem that the expectations are as well. A piece of advice a former teacher gave to me was to set your boundaries very early in the year (before school even begins) so you can share your expectations with your students.

One of the ways you can also share those expectations are to give students "key indicators" of when they are meeting or not meeting your expectations.

An example would be:” If you are meeting my expectations, you will receive praise," bonus points, rewards, etc.

"If you are not meeting my expectations you will receive my eye contact," a whistle blow, etc.

Giving students something to notice, signs that they need to improve their conduct, is also an important social skill. It also helps them refine their boundaries in your classroom.

I have great admiration for PE/Health teachers - it takes a lot of energy!

It is so impressive to hear you talk about involving your community and your future goal of becoming an athletic director. The way you reflect and think about your community will make you one of the best!

Kind Regards,
Juliana Kirmeyer (aka Jennifer)