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Evin Shinn

October 4, 2014
EDU 6528
Prof. Jackson
Strengths and Intentions
As education moves closer towards a standards-based rubric when it comes to assessing
teacher growth and development, it makes sense that a teacher leader is consistently moving to
improve his or her practice, particularly in light of student learning and student growth in
achievement. With that being said, it is difficult to find time to do this work well when you think
about the demands of teaching well in the classroom along with taking accurate attendance,
monitoring behavior, and making sure that all students are getting equitable access to education
– and yet that is the call of the teacher leader: to move from good to great.
With this as my first year as a high school teacher, it has been very easy for me to do a lot
of thinking and reflecting about if what I’m teaching is what I want students to be learning that
day. Because I’m at a school that focuses particularly on Project-Based Learning (or PBL), often
it seems that the activities that supersede the learning that should be happening. The textbooks
that I’m using this year History Alive! and Government Alive! are particularly great at creating
amazing activities for students to do to recall information. But what are the enduring
understandings that I want students to have? What is the learning objective that they should
know by the end of the chapter? This is where I struggle. I start with the textbook, instead of
starting with what I personally want students to know and because my principal and vice
principal have made it clear that I am teaching upperclassmen and I’m no longer responsible for
‘the test,’ they have given me a lot of freedom about what to teach.
With regards, towards professional collaboration, I also struggle. Students love my class
because I’m dynamic, engaging, and I love teaching. One thing I don’t love? Collaboration. My
teaching style is organic with a particular blend of Mr. Shinn, standards, laughter, and rigor.
How do I do that work with respect to myself when I have other teachers who want to ‘teach like
me’ or who want me to teach like them? At my previous school, I got into trouble for saying that
another teacher was ‘leeching’ off of me. While it was true and he did not contribute anything to
my classroom, I learned that school politics play a role in professional collaboration – whether it
should or not. Cleveland gives me an opportunity to move toward a more professional dialogue,
especially when it comes to developing an exciting project-based curriculum.
Finally, this year, I will be on the Danielson Framework comprehensively. While I like the
idea of being evaluated fully and having my administrator see many of things that are happening
in the classroom, it also is a bit stressful. While my administrator sees what happens in Domains
2 & 3, I hope that it will be clear what is happening behind the scenes as well (Domain 1) as well
as what is happening in terms of my work as a professional (Domain 4). In all of these realms,

my hope is that students take the reins of the classroom, not because it yields a distinguished
grade on my evaluation, but because Room 1335 is about the students, not me as their teacher.