Critical Analysis I by Omaudi Reid EDUE 710

A New York teaching fellow, studying to enter the teaching profession for the first time wrote the following passage in a report called “Planning to Remain Passionate: A New Teacher's Stance”: ..thousands of teachers also familiar with the New York city school system will enter the classroom. Some of these teachers have grown weary, and only continue in the teaching profession for a paycheck; others still continue to influence students with a vision that inspires students to learn. Along with these veteran teachers, a new set of teachers will also enter the classroom. Many of the new teachers will no doubt enter the profession with an invigorating passion. However, they will face the same challenges that all previous teachers have faced. Each decision and action taken by new teachers as they face various obstacles in the educational system will lead them either down the path of continuous passion, or down the road of becoming a weary teacher. I was the new teacher who wrote the above words. Today, I have been teaching for a year, and certainly, I have experienced moments of weariness. I can now look back to see if I have passionately pursued my profession or have grown weary, only caring about the next paycheck. The thesis of the paper from which the above excerpt was taken is if teachers practice the essentials they could continue their passion as teachers. The essentials of effective practice according to Mercy College New Teacher Residency Program in the Essentials of Effective Practice are as follows: commitment to learning, deliberate practice, accountability for student learning, teaching the whole student, improvisation, and educational leadership. In the next few paragraphs I will look closely at two of essentials, deliberate practice and accountability for student learning, in order to compare my current understanding of the essentials with my former understanding; and consequently, how my philosophical vision of education has been affected or changed.. One of the goals I had was to practice flexible perception, a core attribute of the essential deliberate practice. Flexible perception is the ability to step back from a situation and see it from a new perspective. My plan was to practice flexible perception

by developing mentoring relationships with new and veteran teachers. Over the past year, I have made informal relationships with new teachers at my school. Through these relationships, I have been able to share and discuss challenges, teaching practices, and lesson plans that provided the opportunity to see a situation, lesson or challenge in a new light. In addition I have often turned to two veteran teachers who shared their advice on classroom management, and school politics. Therefore, in that sense, I did practice flexible perception. However, I was not able to connect with other teachers in the amount I was expecting. I had envisioned sharing e-mails, having meet-ups, and observing classes, bu I was only able to have informal conversations usually during lunch breaks. In addition, lack of time lessened the possibility for me to reflect on my own practice in a formal manner. Thus, while I practiced this essential in an informal sense, I did not get the opportunity to make it a deliberate practice. One step that I can make to be more reflective and flexible in my perception is to log new ideas, and strategies that I learn as I talk with other teachers so that I can look back on them for further reflection. While there was some evidence that I practiced flexible perception and reflection, it seems like I failed to practice accountability for student learning as I understood it. In Planning to Remain Passionate: A New Teacher's Stance, I said the following: “My aim then is to use standards as a basis for my lesson plans, and through big goals, inspire students to learn concepts beyond what's required. In order to accomplish this I intend to set a big goal at the beginning of the school year that goes beyond the minimum standards.” Unfortunately, over the past year, a majority of my students were not able to perform on the minimum standards required for their grade level. While I still believe that standards should be used as a minimum requirement, I now realize that it much harder to do when the student population lacks previous

knowledge. In other words, how can I inspire a student to meet the current grade level standards, when his or her current level of performance is two or even three grades below the current grade level. My understanding of accountability for student learning was that state standards were the basis or benchmark by which student learning should be measured, therefore I was accountable for my students learning the minimum requirements for their grade level. While I still believe that teachers should set big goals, and use the standards as a benchmark for student learning, I now realize that it may be unreasonable in many cases for a teacher to evaluate their accountability for student learning on whether or not students were able to make grade level state standards. A more practical evaluation of a teacher's accountability for student learning is how much progress student's made in the academic year. On that note, a majority of my students did make progress over the past year, however only a few improved their performance by one grade level. Therefore, I believe there is much more improvement that I need to make in the area of accountability for student learning. Having a clear vision, and setting big goals was a major component of my philosophical vision. It seems to me that I failed to keep my students on the big goals. In the midst of the year, while focusing on classroom management, meeting deadlines, following protocol, and cramming for state texts, I lost sight, and thus my students, on the big goals for the year. This is a mistake, I plan not to repeat.