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Analytical Personal and Professional Essay

Since my Portfolio ll I have continued to be involved in professional development

opportunities within my own school and school district. For example, I have presented on writing

with English language learners with a specific focus on conferencing at staff development

meetings in addition to leading a writing support group after school twice weekly. I will also be

presenting at the district wide professional development for Prince William County Schools this

August. In addition, I have shared the knowledge I have gained from my coursework and

internship with my colleagues at both team and staff meetings. In doing so I can combine

research and theory with practice and serve as a resource for my colleagues and administration.

Since portfolio 11 I have continued to attend as many conferences as I am able with my

teaching schedule. I attended and presented at the Association of Literacy Educators and

Researchers (ALER) in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Critical Questions in Education

Conference (CQIE) in Portland, Oregon. This allows me to learn from other colleagues, share

my work as well as network with other educators with the same interests the research from my

coursework together with my own teaching experiences. I have also benefited from the

professional development opportunities offered within my school district. For example, I was

approached by my administrator to be videotaped as I conferenced with students during writing

workshop to help my colleagues understand better what conferencing looks like and how it can

be implemented.

I also gave a presentation on writing with English language learners during a staff

development day at my school. My objective was to showcase the research on writing with

culturally and linguistically diverse students, and demonstrate effective practices based upon
research that support these students in their writing. I then observed colleagues during writing

workshop and served as a writing coach to assist teachers as needed.

At my portfolio ll defense I was tasked with preparing articles for publication and

presentation. I have continued to work diligently on articles for publication, realizing that it is a

learning curve and I will keep revising and editing my work. My coursework has provided me

with opportunities to read published articles, gain insight into the various writing styles in

professional journals as well as provide research and data I could utilize. I have submitted my

work from a previous conference for the ALER yearbook publication as suggested, however, it

was not accepted for publication. On a positive note the feedback concerning the review of the

literature was positive and regarded as strong.

Unfortunately, there were areas of weakness regarding APA format and areas of

organization that needed revising. For example, a recommendation was made to place numbers

at the bottom of the page as opposed to the top of the page. Organization is something I do

struggle with at times and therefore will need to be mindful of preparing outlines for helping in

this area. I also need to remember to consider the type of journal and the writing style it requires.

I do consider the feedback quite valuable and will help me in the future.

I am currently awaiting the review of an article I wrote on conferencing during writing

which was submitted to the Reading Teacher for consideration. I will also be able to work on a

project with Dr. LaCroix in the near future which will benefit me greatly in understanding the

fundamentals of writing for publication. This has been a challenge for me as I have not had prior

experience in this. Working with a professor will be an honor and one that I can gain the needed

experience for future attempts at publication.

My coursework these final two semesters have afforded me the opportunity to explore

various topics in teaching and teacher education along with exploring two other qualitative

methodologies. EDUC 851, Research on Teacher Education provided me much insight into

current research in the field of education along with working with classmates to teach lessons on

various articles read and topics of class discussion. This was a powerful experience as it allowed

for synthesizing information read and then collaborating with a classmate to present lessons and

engaging activities. This experience also enabled me to implement previously learned content in

planning and instructing adult learners and implement strategies I had learned in a previous class

with Dr. Kidd. In addition, we received feedback from peers which was beneficial to our

teaching and learning. (EDUC 851: Strengthening Clinical Preparation, What Educators Should

Know and Be Able To Do) This class provided me the opportunity to have some experience in

preparing to write my future proposal that included information about navigating data bases for

reviewing the literature concerning my area of interest, refining my research questions, and

deciding on which methodology would be appropriate for study. Dr. Samaras shared with the

class exemplary work from previous students that served as models. I found EDUC 851 very

helpful in reflecting on my research questions, the importance of stating the problem in the

introduction, and being clear and concise in my writing. (EDUC 851: Annotated For 851, Task 3

Final AS)

My two methods classes, Advanced Qualitative EDRS 822 and Narrative Inquiry EDRS

836 were instrumental in providing me with insight into ways in which data is collected, coded

and analyzed. In particular EDRS 836 was an eye opener as Dr. Baily’s class revolved round the

completion of three modules in preparation for our methods chapter 3. Each module built upon

the previous. For example, through the readings I had to reflect on my ontological perspective,
epistemological perspective, theoretical perspective, and conceptual framework. It was very hard

work just as Dr. Baily had indicated. The modules helped me to better understand why it is

important to know your ontology and epistemology to choose the appropriate methodology to

answer your research question. (EDRS 822: M1 Graded, M2 Graded, M3 Graded)

EDRS 836, Narrative Inquiry provided opportunities for reading and learning about the

many different types of narratives, how to conduct narrative inquiry, proper interviewing

techniques, and coding and analyzing five different types of narrative inquiry. (EDRS 836: DA

2B, DA 3, Final 836 mc) Prior to this class I had little experience with the different types of

narratives as well as the various ways to analyze data. For example, I learned how to code

thematic analysis, structural analysis, and coding data for critical events analysis. As interesting

as this methodology is, at this time I am carefully considering the methodological approach that

would be the most appropriate one for conducting my study and would align with my research


Finally, this past semester I completed an internship with Dr. LaCroix as was discussed at

portfolio ll. In EDUC 994 Advanced Internship in ECE Literacy (512), I had many opportunities

to plan for instruction, teach both whole class and small groups of students, and combine both

theory and practice while working with the graduate students. Through this internship I also

learned how a syllabus is designed, how to set up Blackboard for students, including adding

assignments and choosing articles for class, as well as how to assess students and grade

assignments. Dr. LaCroix gave me the autonomy to integrate my own teaching experiences

during instruction as in preparing power points for class as well as teaching small groups in

guided reading and running records.

I was able to learn from her expertise and implement all that I learned in my own

teaching. Not only did Dr. LaCroix entrust me to plan instruction and design activities in guided

reading, the writing process, assessment, and related literacy topics covered in the syllabus, she

also worked with me in grading assignments using various rubrics. We spent many hours

planning and preparing for class each Wednesday night as well as discussing my future research

plans. In addition, we co taught many classes together which was a wonderful learning

experience for me. Dr. LaCroix was instrumental in helping me to experience what teaching at

this level entails all while making me feel confident in my ability to do so. (EDUC 994: Guided

Reading PP, Early Reading and Assessment in First Grade, Writing PP Spelling Slides, Non-

Fiction Text)

Because of my internship I was able to work as Dr. LaCroix as her assistant in ECED 513

during the first summer sessions for five weeks. I was able to assist Dr. LaCroix in grading

student assignments which I truly enjoyed. At first, I was a little nervous with this undertaking

with its responsibility, but Dr. LaCroix made me feel competent and comfortable. Once I became

acclimated in the grading system, it became much easier and I looked forward to reading student

journal entries, chapter responses, blogs, and other such assignments. I also enjoyed commenting

on student work and giving feedback.

Although in the beginning it was a bit challenging to navigate blackboard for 31 students,

however, the more I graded student work the easier it became. I was very grateful that Dr.

LaCroix entrusted me with grading student assignments as this was an area I wanted additional

experience in. With this experience I also learned how to utilize flip grid along with new ways to

integrate technology in my teaching. In addition, I was approached this summer with teaching
an undergraduate class in the fall. I credit Dr. LaCroix and my experience with her for this


In reflecting on the growth from portfolio l, ll, and now lll, I would say I have learned a great

deal since the beginning of my program. I have expanded my research methodological

understanding due to my coursework and I am ready to make clear design choices in my

dissertation. I have gained valuable experience and knowledge through my participation in

conferences and presentations, including those at my school and district level. I have also gained

valuable writing experience through coursework and conferences. Moving forward I will

implement feedback and suggestions from reviewers in my future academic writing. I learned the

importance of selecting the right academic journal for my work and to focus on the organization.

Finally, I feel better prepared for my future as an educator at the university level after

having worked with Dr. LaCroix. Having the experience of working with someone so

knowledgeable helped me to gain confidence and feel comfortable in my role from educator to

teacher educator. It also provided me the opportunity to utilized everything I learned from EDUC

803 with Dr. Kidd involving teacher preparation and professional development and teaching

adult learners. Both the internship with Dr. LaCroix and working alongside her in the summer

session of ECED 513 allowed me to feel more prepared to teach at university in future.

In reflecting on my program thus far, I feel that I have gained a wealth of information

which will assist me as I pursue my future endeavors. While I realize that am still learning and

have much to look forward to in this academic journey, my goals since the beginning have never

wavered, just refined. My research goal has always involved writing, working with ELLs, and

focusing on providing research that will help future and current educators. I hope my future
study will provide evidence of the benefits of conferencing during writing workshop with both

monolinguals and ELLs as a way of supporting one’s identity, culture and language.