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By Emily Mullins TE 302 Plair

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1 By Emily Mullins TE 302 Plair
Who am I as a Teacher? Final Project My Professional Identity as a Teacher: Beliefs about teaching, learning, literacy and assessment By Emily Mullins TE 302 Plair

2 Tutoring at Gardner Middle School: My experience
Tutoring in Mrs. O.’s class was a great experience. I learned a lot by observing and interacting with the students. It was also an excellent opportunity to work with ESL students. I was given the opportunity to work with two students who had recently moved to the United States and spoke another language. They were both on different levels of English literacy. As difficult as it was, I was so proud when we accomplished a certain aspect of language together, whether it dealt with vocabulary or understanding of readings. The young girl from Thailand, Paw, had a very hard time. When I first met her the only word she knew was “bathroom.” This evolved to naming colors, numbers (counting), verbs, objects and people. And Kauye from Somalia made such an impression on me in her understanding of the readings and vocabulary. She tried so hard and she was great in rising to the challenge of taking on a new foreign language and a novel like The Giver. She was sweet and took direction and corrections well. I thought it was great when we spoke in class that we have no idea their intelligence, perhaps in their language and country, they were the brightest in the class. By not knowing English, we should not assume their mental capabilities are lower than those who do. Both students were great to work with and I was also astonished at how much I loved helping with the whole class as well. I loved when students asked me for help, raised their hands to have me come over, and standing up in the front of the class with all eyes on me.

3 My Classroom Environment and Engaging my Students in Classroom Material
I want to create a respectful, challenging, confidence-inspiring, creative, and meaningful learning environment. A no non-sense, high expectations environment. I want to create a certain level of autonomy so they know what is expected of them behavior-wise each class-period but not so that it becomes boring. My classroom will be a structured, safe environment. “I can’t” or “I don’t know how” will not be taken as an answer. Guesses are okay, probing questions can get them on the right path. Behavior is the most important. Class lectures and discussions can not succeed without respect and good behavior. Comfortable classroom, so to allow students to want to participate and are encouraged to participate effectively and openly. I want students to be motivated to learn and to become engaged in the material. Make content appealing Be active in own learning process Engaged in texts and enjoy reading Make students self-sufficient Belief in the potential and the eventual success of students Relating to real life and experiences students might have dealt with or can relate to.

4 Who do I want to be as a teacher and what qualities do I want to possess? [Including my future classroom policies] I want to take pride in teaching, and have my positive attitude, and passion for my content area transfer to my students. I don’t want to merely deposit information into my students’ minds, but make them be creative and think critically about the subjects presented. Genuine investment in students and in their learning Effective role model and educator Confident in my teaching skills and have confidence while teaching. Actively involved within the school and community to create a better connection with students I also want parents to become involved so I know what their support base is like at home, or even if they have one. This will require having students read with parents or guardians, and having signatures to make sure. Dedication to teaching and their learning

5 Creating Meaningful Learning so as to Make Students Active in their own Learning Process
I want to make students actively involved in their own learning process and in their reading and writing. I am going to integrate different teaching strategies that keep students engaged, interested, and on task during class. Different interactive activities like group discussions, projects and films will allow students to maintain focus and interest in the subjects being covered. I also had a teacher once asked us what novels we wanted to read and what projects we wanted to do, and everyone was excited to sort of be creating the lesson plan for the day or weeks. Incorporate activities into lessons, making lessons more enjoyable by not just relying on worksheets. Intrinsic Motivation—seeing if they are motivated because they want to succeed and complete the tasks at hand without any outside motivation. Relating to Prior Knowledge by seeing how new concepts relate to those learned in the past. (Scaffolding will play a role in this. By knowing what they have learned and helping them build on this knowledge to come to a conclusion about a new idea concerning either grammar, reading critically, writing, etc. i.e. reading poetry or Shakespeare) Communicate effectively with my students and reach out and acknowledge their individually specific needs. Let students know I am there to help in any way I can. What do students want to know about this subject or specific reading?

6 Lesson Plans Reinforcing Learning by using Venn diagrams, character webs, critical thinking projects, etc. Not relying on worksheets and other forms of homework or work that does not require meaningful learning I want my lessons to be novel-based and discussion-based. I will use probing questions to guide them to answer their own questions, to make sure they know they are capable of comprehending the material and how they have a deeper understanding of what they have read. Students should have the ability to explain and help one another. I will use partner-work and group-work to help them teach and learn from one another. Also, pairing strong students with weak students. Extension projects and collaboration projects. My classes will focus mostly on reading, writing, grammar, editing, and comprehension. I also think students should be engaged in constructing their own creative writing and writing their own perspectives in subjects covered, through different creative expressions. Rewriting will be allowed, as all children can find room for improvement. Poetry can be an excellent inspiring tool. I could have students write their own poetry and recite their work, or the work of another student. Writing songs is another interesting concept to allow students to take on. Anything that brings out their creative talents.

7 The world of *Literacy* and how it could come to relate to my students
Literacy is both vital and necessary to teach and understand individual differences in literacy. Depending on the classes I teach, I may run in to students having serious problems with literacy and having extremely low reading levels. These students are in need of the most instruction and need a will to succeed instilled in them, as well as a trust that I will do all in my power to help them do so. As a teacher, you want to get through to all of your students, but this is sometimes difficult. By making your door always open, and acknowledging the differences in literacy, you will come to assess the help each student requires. I want to combine many different aspects and functions of literacy to round out students’ understanding of the various subjects and topics upon which I teach. Open-minded approach to literacy (distinctly different for each child based on cultural background differences or different home and learning situations or capabilities) Progress is a major component of literacy. When a child has low literacy we must first start with the basics in grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and sentence structure. Also, we must not assume that if they lack literacy in certain content areas, they have low literacy in all aspects of school. This is about not making judgments on an individual based on assumptions about their background and the type of home life you might expect them to have. As the child begins to progress in their literacy, you must let them know how well they are doing so they can continue to want to do well and progress upwards in their literacy level.

8 What do I know about my students
What do I know about my students? [their knowledge, skill, and motivation] I know that all my students are different and unique in their own way, and these differences must be respected and acknowledged. Some students’ skill levels in reading and writing and comprehension will be higher than others. I can allow these students to set an example and provide a degree of help to students who might be struggling. I also have to provide help to those who may be struggling, but not stop helping those who are doing well. Each student’s motivation will differ as well. Some will need a form of extrinsic motivation, while others will want to do their best work without being told to do so. This involves intrinsic motivation. While we first aim to encourage and support our students in their own processes of growth and self-discovery, we also want to help students extend their ability to grow and discover in themselves what is unique and exceptional about them. But first, we need to be able to discover who each one is and how they came to be when they first arrived in our classroom. Being able to motivate a child in their own self-discovery demands that we first know how to do it in our own lives, with ourselves and in our communities, and especially within our classroom. Motivation is not just about getting our students to complete projects or homework, but it is about motivating them because we want to help show them who they are, who they have been, and who they are becoming. We want to emphasize their strengths and let them know we are there to help them overcome their weaknesses and educational obstacles. Motivation is about having a reason for doing something students may or may not want to do, and if we don’t know who our students are, we won’t know how to go about helping them.

9 How can I bring my students’ backgrounds into my teaching
How can I bring my students’ backgrounds into my teaching? [especially for those of lower socio-economic backgrounds] Depending on my students, I can vary the readings in order to make an impression with a story or characters they can get in to and see parallels between their own lives. The characters in readings are most important. They will be the greatest example of who an individual can strive to be or can see reflected in themselves. I want to relate class topics and reading relatable to current events or to their cultural backgrounds, depending on the backgrounds of my students. They should be able to see the cultural importance imbedded in class readings and discussions. By providing texts and academic support to young men and women of diverse cultural backgrounds or those who may be of lower socioeconomic statuses, a demographic that needs the most support, they will hopefully be able to perform better in school. It is difficult for these young men and women to overcome social and cultural barriers. These barriers are internal, including identity issues and failing to rise above the stereotypes of students in similar situations, and external, including structural racism and their socioeconomic class. A lot of their issues with school and authority arise from cultural-specific factors. Some solutions I thought might work are to provide culturally responsive literacy instruction that links classroom content to student experiences so that they can develop their character and learn responsibility, respect and to be serious about school. Schools have also developed academic programs such as "comprehensive literacy programs, and academically oriented remedial programs" (“African American Males and Reading”). The goal is to have these students engaged in meaningful learning and meaningful reading they will get out of certain texts. The curriculum developed should try to reflect student experiences and respond to these students with the greatest need. Engaging these young men and women with certain culturally responsive texts can play a role in their literacy development and will hopefully lead to more positive life outcomes and perhaps more positive life choices.

10 What are the best ways to help students understand what they need to know and what they should be able to be? A syllabus will show exactly my class’ expectations. During each lesson, I will tell the class what you expect them to understand or know about the plot, characters, setting, etc. When you tell your class the plans for today, they will do a better job paying attention and listening for information they will need to know in the future. Also, I think in my classroom I will grade assignments and then hand their work back with constructive feedback. If the work quality does not meet the standards I have explicitly stated for the assignment or for the individual, I will give the student the chance to reflect and make corrections, then they can resubmit the assignment with improvements. This allows the students to assess their own work and what mistakes they made and what needs to be done to improve the quality of their work.

11 How do we know our efforts in our classroom and working and are being effective?
Testing, homework and papers will be the most effective and easiest way of assessing what students have learned and their comprehension of the material we’ve covered. But I think in my discussion-based classroom, I will see participation as an example of deeper understanding and student’s ability to think critically about novels, and other pieces of writing, as well as their peers’ opinions. Projects and group collaboration will show a further understanding of the material presented. Progress will be a good assessment if we are doing our job as teachers well. At the beginning of each school year, I will have to assess their competence in writing and reading as we work together, and to see their grammatical and spelling level. I will also need to look at behavioral improvements, to see what disciplinary actions to take in the future.

12 How can we utilize the features of technology innovations to help students’ learning and support our specific content area teaching? Technology literacy is becoming increasingly more important for schools and for the future. As my content area is English, I think I will use power points and smart boards (if available) on a relatively consistent basis. Using Microsoft tools for presentations and other forms of school work will be necessary. This includes Excel, Power Point, Publisher, and Word especially. Using internet sources to aid in finding information to help them write papers and find out more information about authors and the novels we are to be covering. Not being afraid to experiment and incorporate technology effectively throughout the course. Example: Google Earth—finding Shakespeare’s house or another setting from a book we are reading. Or recording lectures, or even using music to aid a poem’s meaning.

13 My Identity as a Teacher
Teachers must be constantly reinventing themselves and acknowledging changing times and students. My goal is mutual respect and trust between students and teachers. I will show them respect and be non-judgmental, and hopefully gain their trust and respect. I want to inspire a passion for reading and writing, mirrored in the texts my classes will take on. I want students to grow in their liking of school and learning. I want all my assignments, readings, papers, etc. to be worth the effort the students are putting in to complete it. Disrespect will not be tolerated. Smile! And be enthusiastic! Children know when you love what you teach. Through validation, let students know I know they can accomplish anything, and that they are smart enough and all they have to do is show me. Be consistent. What students are able to do is a direct reflection on your teaching. Inspire and have both a Plan A and a Plan B.

14 The End

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