Completing a degree is not enough to become an effective teacher. A teacher must also demonstrate professionalism. This includes appropriate and ethical behavior, professional development, leadership, collaboration, and reflection. Throughout my student teaching experiences, I have been able to develop these professional dispositions, and they have helped me have a more successful student teaching experience.

Working with colleagues to implement a Science Discovery Circus on magnets. Students were engaged by the iron filings moving on the paper, caused by the magnets underneath the paper.


Collaboration – Collaboration is an important part of being a teacher. Working with others in the school community can improve teaching skills and student achievement. During my third grade student teaching experiences, I was fortunate enough to work on a team that engaged in collaborative planning for reading. Team members would pick books for reading time, and would create standards-based mini-lesson plans to target specific reading skills. These plans and the corresponding books were shared among all of the team members. As a member of the team, I created some mini-lessons as well. This artifact is one of the reading lesson plans that I shared with the team. Reading lesson plan_Two Bobbies.pdf

The school community also includes parents of the students with whom you interact. During student teaching, I was able to communicate with parents through notes and conferences. It was very important to not only keep parents aware of areas of concern for the students, but also to tell parents when their children excel or do something positive. I kept this in mind when communicating with parents. In my future classroom, I plan to have a class website and a monthly newsletter to keep in contact with parents.

Reflection – Reflection on teaching and other professional activities is essential for my development throughout my teaching career. During my practicum and student teaching, reflection became a part of my daily teaching routine. I had the opportunity to teach a Read Write Think Aloud lesson in my 3rd grade student teaching class. After teaching the lesson, I was able to reflect on the lesson. The lesson plan and reflection can be viewed by clicking on the link. rwta lesson plan.pdf

Professional Development and Leadership – Ongoing professional development is necessary for improved teacher effectiveness. During my student teaching, I was able to attend a professional development seminar on conducting Writing workshop. As a novice teacher, this seminar helped me to become more comfortable with conducting Writing Workshop efficiently and successfully. I have also been able to engage in professional development through my memberships in the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Through these organizations, I have been able to keep up on the latest news, research, and instructional strategies in Science education.

During my career, I have had many opportunities to act as a leader. For example, I was appointed to the position of Upper Grades Science Lead Teacher at Hybla Valley Elementary for the 2011-2012 school year. During this time, I had the opportunity to affect the Science instruction happening throughout the upper grades by working with students and teachers. I was able to coordinate and teach in an after-school Science Club to help students improve their science skills and increase their background knowledge. I was also able to work with teachers to improve their Science knowledge, and help them develop strategies to tackle their students' misconceptions while teaching. In middle school, I have become a member of the Vanguard team, which helps teachers build their knowledge of educational technology, and use it in the classroom.

Leadership also involves sharing information with the education community. Through my coursework and classroom experiences, I have learned many things that are worthy of sharing. For example, during a course on Exceptional Populations in the Classroom, I did research on Gifted and Talented students in the Elementary classroom, and made this information available online. Also, during an Instructional Technology class, I explored the use of Google Sky in the classroom. At the time, Google Sky was a very new application, and there were not many useful resources for teachers on how to use the program in the classroom. Through my exploration of the program’s features, I developed a module on Google Sky, its interdisciplinary uses in the upper elementary grades, and helpful tips for teachers using it. I believe that, as I become more competent and confident as a teacher, I will be able to demonstrate leadership by sharing even more lesson plans and resources like this with my colleagues. Both of the aforementioned artifacts can be viewed below. (Google Sky in the Upper Elementary Classroom) resource notebook_gifted.pdf

During my teaching experiences, I created many good and valuable relationships with the faculty and staff at my schools. It was very important to develop and maintain a friendly atmosphere, as this can effect student learning and attitudes. Also, a collegial atmosphere lends itself to collaboration and leadership. Maintaining this atmosphere allowed me to have a positive effect on the others in the building. Through all of this, however, I made sure that I demonstrated good judgment and displayed ethical behaviors. Conducting myself as a professional was also important to me, and I was able to demonstrate this in many ways, such as dressing appropriately, and treating others with respect.