Teacher Professionalism

Describe what professionalism means to you and how to be an active contributor to the educational community.

In my earlier years, I imagined being a professional was described as being knowledgeable, trustworthy and dressing to the nines. If I saw someone on the street looking as if they worked on Wall St., I would label them as a professional.

Now being in education and questioning continuously, I consider professionalism as being comfortable with yourself, a good role model for your students and become a craftsman through constant learning. But what does this mean exactly?

For myself being comfortable with yourself means dressing appropriately but staying true to who you are. If that means wearing 3″ heels and a pantsuit like Jessica Pearson from Suits, great. If it’s wearing a floral dress and ballet flats like Jessica Day from New Girl, that is great to. Regardless of what you are wearing, other will make judgements prior to having a conversation with you, but their judgements do not always reflect on how effectively you can educate and impact students.

The most important part of professionalism is how you act, being a good role model if showing your students how to problem solve when having a conflict with someone in a reasonable manner or being kind to who you come in contact with on a daily basis.

Become a craftsman, through experience and trail and error, constantly refine your knowledge and skills, reflect on each day and question how to make it better for the next. Not only become highly knowledgeable in your area, but have knowledge in all areas and with your students. Become a craftsman of your students, get to know their quarks and ticks, creating that relationship with your students.

Although some may disagree with me and that professionalism is code of ethics and rules, and yes that is important but don’t look over the things that people may glimpse over. As the saying goes, “it’s the little things”. Master those little things and work at them to better yourself and your students and professionalism will become more refined and being “seen” as a professional will not be in question because your actions and words speak volumes.

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Differentiated Instruction

Give an example of how you will use differentiated instruction in your classroom.

Using differentiated instruction can occur in many ways, from the way you physically are teaching, assignments or assessments. When teaching about electricity in science 9 (CE 9.1), I think the best way to determine how I am going to differentiate is by doing a pre-assessment. This allows myself to gain perspective on what the students prior knowledge is. For example, looking at indicator l – differentiate between a complete circuit, a closed circuit, an open circuit, and a short circuit, students could show they know mastery of this by describing it using a definition or example, or if memorizing what they know they can show it by physically creating those types of circuits.

As the article had stated, “if a student can express what they know more accurately by using alternative format, then get out of their way and let them do it (p.30). If the summative assessment is a test, allow for students to answer in a way they can by leaving it more open. For example, “Determine the difference between a complete, closed and open circuit, by either describing/defining or drawing”. Regardless of what the process they choose, the end goal would be the same.

The most difficult part of differentiated instruction is the summative assessment portion, where we think students need to memorize to show mastery, when it does not know mastery of the content but mastery of memorization skills. Simply changing questions, to give an option can quickly help students feel confident in taking tests.

Regardless of what differentiation is done, getting students to the maximum point of learning is the common goal, and like anything in teaching it’s about trail and error to get the results you and your students want.