Education Opinion

Artists of Our Profession

By Emmet Rosenfeld — May 07, 2006 2 min read
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Standard XIV. Self-Reflection

“Accomplished Early Adolescence/English Language Arts teachers constantly analyze and strengthen the effectiveness and quality of their teaching.” (EA/ELA pg 61)

With apologies to Letterman, this and possibly the next two entries will take the form of top ten lists, as I cull key phrases and ideas from the standard under study (unless this format becomes excruciatingly boring or I change my mind). I do this also on the advice of a reader who posted a comment some time ago that she found it invaluable to sprinkle her portfolio with bold-faced buzz words in order to show that she was meeting standards unequivocally. Without further ado, including any reference whatsoever to pachiderms... the (1st) list.

10. Teaching is an evolving field, and every day we face fluid situations. Practitioners must always be adapting. We are lifelong learners.
9. We use many resources in this process, especially feedback from students, parents and other educators. One way we teach kids is by modeling how to learn.
8. We are familiar with state and local standards governing what we ought to teach, and stay abreast of current publications and issues in the field.
7. We participate in an ongoing basis in “professional development” of various kinds, be it workshops, research, or study groups.
6. We cultivate a habit of introspection that makes us continually improve. When faced with problems, we draw on our experience, our knowledge of educational theory and the most current research available.
5. We know our own strengths and weaknesses, and are open to change.
4. We are aware of our filters-- biases, predilections, and experiences that make us see the world the way we do. We know when these filters help us and when they might prevent us from seeing clearly.
3. We get the vision thing. It allows us to know where we want to see our students, ourselves and our profession, and provides a basis for us to look at and critique issues that are important in education.
2. We can talk about why we do what we do in the classroom with reference to both theory and experience.

And the number one thing that characterizes teachers’ practice of self-reflection?

1. We know we’re on a journey, not just to knowledge but to a zen-like state of readiness and training where we can think on our feet and seize teachable moments to make them our own. At our best, we are (and I quote directly from the standard here with my best goofy grin) “artists of [our] profession.”

Beat, hurl card off camera to the sound effect of breaking glass. Paul and the band play me out with a peppy version of “Fly Me to the Moon”....

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