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Go and study

By Emmet Rosenfeld — October 08, 2006 5 min read
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Thank goodness it’s raining, so at least the sun isn’t calling me out to play in the yard with the kids. I’m at the keyboard and psyching myself up to begin Entry Four. Okay, I’m back in college. It’s a 10-page paper. That’s nothing. Write fast and throw in lots of catch-phrases from the bible ( “Keep those entry standards by your keyboard for constant reference,” reminds Marybeth, from California, in a helpful comment on my last post.) I’ll use the template below when writing about my accomplishments.

Entry Four consists of:
· Description and analysis, 10 pp typed, double-spaced
· Documentation 16 pp
· Reflection 2 pp

Covers three categories:
· as a partner with students’ families and their community (current year)
standards buzzwords to use:

(Note to candidates: you fill in the blanks here, as your standards may be different than mine based on your certification area. For your reference, I have culled my top ten lists of the three relevant standards for Early Adolescence/ English Language Arts and append them at the end of this post. Note that they are inverse order a la Letterman.)

· as a learner (from past 5 years)
standards buzzwords to use:

· as a leader and/or collaborator (from past 5 years)
standards buzzwords to use:

Reflective Summary:
· Outside the classroom, what was most effective in impacting student learning? Why?
· Considering patterns, how will I further student learning in the future?

Final thought, or, why this post is so short: Once a student curious about the talmud (close enough to cabbalah for our purposes) went up to a famous scholar and said, “Rabbi Hillel, tell me the secret of life while I’m standing on one foot.” The rabbi stroked his beard for a moment, and then replied: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The rest is commentary. Now go and study.”
Three standards that apply to Entry Four

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)

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.
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 “artists of [our] profession.”

XV: Professional Community “Accomplished Early Adolescence/English Language Arts teachers contribute to the improvement of instructional programs, advancement of knowledge, and practice of their colleagues.” (EA/ELA pg 65)

5. Through collaboration, we contribute to and gain from the practice of our colleagues, both at school and beyond.
4. We are team players who strengthen the school by developing strong lessons in our discipline and across the curriculum, and partnering with administrators or specialists to provide, for example, “custom-tailored instruction” to “properly identified students.”
3. We create a safe place for honest, open and appropriate communication, comforting students during difficult times (like the transition from middle to high school) and using our keen knowledge of human nature to differentiate between “typical angst of the adolescent” and true red flags.
2. We educate and learn from colleagues by training and mentoring new teachers, setting up staff development opportunities, presenting at workshops, serving on task forces, joining professional organizations and publishing.
1. We improve instruction, climate and the practice of ourselves and others through collaboration.

XVI. Family Outreach “Accomplished Early Adolescent/ English Language Arts teachers work with families to serve the best interests of their children.” (EA/ELA pg 69)

10. Families are the first teachers. Understanding them is crucial to knowing the kid.
9. Get them on your side with two-way communication. Seek information from parents on how their kids learn; provide information about your program that can guide parents to participate productively.
8. Parents are allies. Not us vs. them but us and them.
7. Communicate regularly and respond thoughtfully to parents. The fewer surprises, the fewer problems.
6. Parents’ history as learners affects their perceptions of how you’re doing as a teacher. If they had a negative experience in the classroom, the may be “reluctant” partners. If they were work-booked to the bone, they may want to see their kids bringing home workbooks.
5. Invite productive participation from all parents, which includes reaching out to ESL parents with the help of school translators.
4. Be “respectful” of parents who understand but don’t agree with what you do.
3. “Enter discussions” with parents with the goal of keeping the focus on two things: the learning of the child, and instructional strategies.
2. It is our job to “wean parents away from an overreliance on test scores and grades” (hallelujah, hallelujah) by showing them actual student work.
1. Invite parents into the class as volunteers, observers and speakers, and also make sure to “devise assignments” that bring the students and parents together in the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

The opinions expressed in Certifiable? are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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