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into my final field experience before graduation. Although the prospect of taking on my own classroom with the responsibility of molding the minds of my young students is something that causes me some anxiety, I am confident that I will stop at nothing to meet the needs of every student. I want nothing more than to have each and every one of my students leave my classroom with a sense of fulfillment not only in terms of their academics, but also as a developing member of society. In order to accomplish this goal, I intend to abide by the following “pillars”; “Establishing Community in Teaching and Learning Environments” and “Guiding the Development of Inquiring and Reflective Minds”. These pillars encourage creating a framework for the type of environment that a teacher should create within the classroom as well as the methods that will be used to successfully teach the eager learners. Creating an appropriate learning environment where all students feel that they have the ability to learn and succeed is an essential responsibility of the teacher. In my classroom, I will strive to recognize the different backgrounds and intellectual abilities of my students and adapt my lesson plans accordingly. I realize that the typical elementary classroom includes students who possess a broad range of skills. There will definitely be students who require extra support to complete grade level activities, some who demonstrate a strong sense of independence, and finally those who are yearning to be challenged further. While I want to treat every student equally and provide him or her with the same opportunities, I feel that it is important to cater to their differences. This mindset can be effectively carried out through a strong commitment to differentiation. If a student is struggling I plan on keeping the lines of
communication open between parents, support staff, and myself in order to best accommodate for the student. Some approaches may be as simple as spending some more one on one time with the student and checking in on their progress frequently. If the student is struggling to a point where it is difficult for them to succeed in a whole group setting, I will be his or her biggest advocate to receive the outside support necessary. If the student seems to be excelling in my classroom, I intend on embedding extension activities within my lesson that take the highlighted topic one step further in an effort to challenge these students. I will also place these students in a position where they have the opportunity to peer teach. Students truly gain a sense of accomplishment by carrying out the responsibility to bestow their knowledge on others. By recognizing the differences in my students, establishing a clear communication path between students, the parents, and myself and creating a comfortable environment for all students to learn, I hope to create an effective learning community within my classroom. The ultimate goal of any teacher is to successfully develop the minds of their students. There are many different approaches that are used in order to convey the necessary information within the curriculum. Personally, I believe that the most effective approach is one that takes a more student-centered outlook. I feel that the more the students are engaged in the subject matter, the more they will get out of the material. Inquiry will definitely be a main theme throughout every lesson. I think it is really important to inquire as to why a student has arrived at a certain conclusion and to challenge them to continually question and explore. Through the inquiry-based method, I will definitely utilize the standards put forth by the state in every unit that I plan. I believe that it is very important to constantly make sure that the children are learning the appropriate material and have
acquired the knowledge needed in order to succeed in future grade levels. Assessment will play an intricate part in ensuring that the students are understanding the required material. Although formal assessments such as tests are necessary in order to truly determine the knowledge base of the student, I believe that informal assessments are equally as important in order to keep the minds of the students constantly at work. An example of an informal assessment that I might implore can be as simple as having the students answer a math flash card before getting in line for a bathroom break. Delivery of appropriate instruction as well as thorough assessments will serve as the foundation to the success of my classroom. A final component that I believe is necessary for effective teaching is the use of technology within the classroom. In today’s society, everything revolves around the use of technology. Therefore, in order keep the interest of the students and to best prepare them for the real world, it is essential to implement technology within to the curriculum whenever possible. I have had personal experience with the Smart Board and cannot say enough about the positive effects this piece of technology has had on my students. I feel as though the visual learning has significantly increased as virtually anything can be modeled on the Smart Board. Additionally, the Smart Board is equipped with multiple interactive features that keep the students engaged and excited to learn. Whether it be the Smart Board or simply taking multiple visits to the computer lab to explore internet resources, I strongly believe that technology must be present in every classroom. As I enter the mid-way point of my student-teaching practicum, the reality of having my own classroom is an exciting opportunity that is on the horizon. While I yearn for the day in the near future when I can finally label a room as, “Miss Gaffney’s Classroom”, I feel as though someone with my passion not only for
teaching but also the students should seize the opportunity to continue to develop professionally. Therefore, I intend to continue my education beyond graduation in order to pursue a Master’s Degree and then a Type 75 to prepare for a role as principal in an elementary school setting. I am a person that is strong in my convictions that the students should always be at the forefront of every decision. I believe that someone who stays true to such a belief, displays confidence, and has the ability to stand before others as a strong leader holds all of the essential qualities to make a difference as a force behind the learning. While I look forward to fulfilling my dream of becoming an elementary teacher, I will strive to achieve my ultimate goal not only for the benefit or myself but also for my students. A child’s education is the most important tool that they will ever acquire throughout their lifetime. I truly value the responsibility to provide my students with such a valuable foundation on which they will hopefully find success in life. I feel as though my university classes as well as my field experiences have provided me with invaluable techniques with which to create a successful learning community. My goal is for my students to feel comfortable in my classroom, to get to know and respect each other, and to feel a sense of belonging and equality. In addition, I will always set high expectations for my students and believe that each and every one of them has the ability to learn and understand the age appropriate content that is presented to them and to pass their assessments with flying colors. Although these ideas of mine may be optimistic, I will continue to have faith in their success and try my best to overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of that goal.
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