Leading and Serving in the Learning Community
The most important job as an educator is the ability to be a lead and serve in the learning community. We all must understand that it takes the teachers, the administrators, and the parents working together to truly educate a child. In order for this to truly work, we must all take part in effective communication skills. We must also collaborate with one another to determine what we can do to better educate our children. It takes us all to make our children leaders of tomorrow.
I currently teach 6th grade science students at Northwest Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Mississippi. This is a public school made up of approximately 807 students in grades 6-8 and 97.6% of our students receive free or reduced lunches. I teach three periods a day that include two IB science classes and one accelerated science class each day. During these classes, I teach a total of seventy-three students (40 girls and 33 boys) with an ethical make-up of 72 African American and 1 Asian student on role. Every week we have team meeting to discuss issues with students, schedule parent conferences, and discuss plan about the curriculum and/or data. I have open lines of communication with my students at school. The students and their parents have the school's phone number and my email address and they are welcome to call or email me whenever. Parents were also encouraged to call me whenever they felt concerns with their child's progress. I also keep a note of all contact with parents in-case of future incidents. I also take an active role in the school improvement by tutoring students. I am actively involved in our schools after school program. I help tutor math with the sixth grade math teacher at our school. This collaboration between teacher ease the mind and it help teacher understand that it is some support with the different strategies. I also feel that partnership between teacher and parents should be introduce at the first day of school and should continue throughout the year.
Description of Artifacts
It is an endless number of ways I can lead and serve within the learning community. I feel that the collaboration with the veteran has been a key aspect of this teaching year for me. I have had the opportunity to attend several professional developments as well as IB training workshops. I believe that these trainings and professional developments will help me better structure my learning environment and insure the parents that I am educating their child to the best of my ability. The following artifacts will be presented as documentation that I have reached out to lead and serve the community for the sake of our children. The first artifact is a news-letter (Artifact 3.1) that I sent out at the beginning of the school. Next, I have included an agenda (Artifact 3.2) from a faculty senate meeting that are held every week at our school . The third artifact is an agenda (Artifact 3.3) from CASIE IB MYP Category II workshop.
1. What specific evidence found in your artifact that documents your communication with others to improve practice, promote students learning or affect school improvement?
The newsletter (Artifact 3.1) to the parents that welcomes their child to Team 6A is evidence that I communicate with others to promote students learning and improve practice. The letter speaks from a team stand point, but as team leader I was the one to initiate such a form of communication. I created this document, had it approved by my principal. The letter is need to provide a hard copy of the rules and procedures. It also lets parents know that we are here to help their children and we take our job seriously. We also maintain frequent contact with parents regarding an overview of the success. The letter explains the procedures in my classroom and the consequences of not following these rules and procedures. I also explain to the students our interest in their education and our expectations.
I use the information from the returned newsletter to create a database and email list serve an additional means of communication. This allows the parents and teachers to form a professional relationship to help gear their child towards self-determination and triumph. I also sent frequent emails to let them know when progress reports are going out and if there is any change in their child's academics or behavior. I have never used such communication methods before, but it is easy to communicate with parents if you start from day one.
2. What specific evidence found in your artifact that documents your collaboration with others to improve practice, promote students learning or affect student learning?
I was chosen to be team leader this year at my school. As team leader I am a member of the Faculty Senate Committee. This committee meets throughout the year to discuss important issues at our school. The committee has an agenda (Artifact 3.2) used to guide us in being effective. I work with the other teacher on this committee to help construct the best school environment in JPS, discuss our team views, and hand out the information from the meetings to my team. The being a member of this committee and the provided agenda is proof that I collaborate with others to improve practice and promote students learning or affect student learning at Northwest. Being a team leader is considered an honor because it allows me serve as the leader of team 6A and I have others depending on me for my leadership and guidance. As team leader, I work with my teammates to decide what's best for our students.
3. What specific evidence found in your artifact that documents your use of educational resources or scholarship (professional development, training, etc) to improve practice, promote students learning or affect student learning?
My overall goal for teaching is to prepare my students to think critically and excel in life. Therefore, I am constantly looking for opportunities as a teacher that will allow me to expand my teaching and improve student achievement. The past two academic school years, I was awarded a transition to teaching grant for $1,000 per year to help ensure that I had met the requirements of being a highly qualified teacher. Through the transition to teaching workshops, I have continually implemented tips and techniques I've learned from the teachers and the other students front the same grant workshop. These workshops also showed me ways in which to be a more effective teacher. This summer I will participate in the IB MYP Category II CASIE workshops. I have included an agenda (Artifact 3.3) from the IB MYP CASIE workshop. This program requires participates to engage in a week long program to implement IB activities into the classroom. After the workshop, I am also required create MYP assessment documents and we lead a professional development for other teachers who teach IB, but didn't attend the summer workshop. Participating in these workshops is evidence that I attend professional development to improve practice and promote students learning or affect student learning.
My leadership skills have grown so much during this year. I now know the important of communication and the security that it brings. My principals also has praised the effects in which I correspondence with parents. Parents are also beginning to praise my efforts because they have become aware of the satisfaction of excellent communication skills I have. I consider the job I do as team leader a big part of why our team has been labeled as one of Northwest's best.
Throughout my time as a teacher I have a lot of growth as a teacher in leading and serving the learning community. I have learned that increased parent involvement produces better students. I not having open lines of communication with my parents and this make the year very stressful. I have since increased parent communication and I have noticed how much easier it is to teach if you have the support of your parents. Secondly, I have realized that it truly takes a village to raise a child. It is important that we work together to help strengthen our child to lead in the future. I have also realized that the professional development courses our district is very beneficial. I know that there is a lot of wonderful ideal in these training and it was up to me to take the first step of learning
I have received a number of accolades, but I still have room for improvements. One of these areas is social skills. I plan to continue to work on my social skills so that I can approach my coworkers and not walk away with nothing. I have learned my communication skills can lead to a stress free environment and also set a high standard of how other view you. I. I have learned not to be a show off among my peers. My principal has a lot of faith in me and has me doing a lot of different tasks. I know that it is good to be a leader but there is only so much one person can do. Instead of me doing everything, I can find other people in the building that is as qualified or even more qualified than me to take some of the responsibilities. Trying to do everything by myself can lead to stress at work as well as not being able to complete any task on time. Therefore, I need to work on assigning positions to my other teammates. Proverbs 12:14 reads, “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. I can relate to this scripture because I can be a counselor that is there to guide my students and my team so that they we can have victory in learning. We must all work together to have a true learning community.