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Reflection on Professional Learning and Ethical Practice

During my internship, I was able to participate in a number of activities with other


education professionals. Most of these instances occurred during staff development meetings.
INTASC 9 specifically discusses how teachers should continually engage in professional
learning, use evidence to evaluate their teaching, and be able to adapt practices to meet the needs
of all students. Similarly, NSTA 6 a-b standards cover how effective teachers should strive to
improve through professional development and conferences, assessing and altering their
pedagogy, and being involved in the science education community
Two of the staff development days this semester focused explicitly on evaluating
practices and adapting instruction. After meeting as a large group, we broke off into our
discipline areas and worked on creating rubrics for each section of our content area. We focused
on learning intentions, success criteria, and specific engaging activities to help encourage all
students to succeed. This was a very helpful professional development to be able to attend as it
gave me insight into how other teachers in my discipline formulate lesson plans and rubrics. The
success criteria we worked to create was also eye-opening because of the amount of time we
spent simply breaking down what we truly wanted students to be able to do at varying levels. By
having these criteria ahead of time, I think it would make it much easier to assess myself on how
much students learned and if Im reaching my goals for them.
While outside of the classroom I felt I got to know other professionals and work on my
teaching practices, there is no substitute for physically being in the classroom and assessing and
modifying my practices to best suit my students. I believe one of my strengths has been my
ability to change mid-lesson if something isnt working or someone needs something explained a
different way. From tutoring for years, I have an arsenal of explanations for why or how nearly
every chemistry concepts occurs. An example this semester includes having to switch to a higher
strength hydrogen peroxide mid-class, making a portion of slab into a demo for safety reasons,
so that students could see the awesome reaction I was attempting to demonstrate. Another was
after going through notes and setting students free to work together to solve some practice
problems, I realized they didnt have a strong enough grasp on the topic to start solving on their
own, so I reeled them back in and started working out problems on the board having them help
with each step and stopping to answer any question that arose. After doing a few together, I rereleased them and they instantly got to work, understanding the math and concepts behind it
much more thoroughly.
Going off of this last example, one of my weaknesses Ive noticed this semester is
lecturing. I am comfortable circulating the room helping small groups with problems, working
out questions on the board with everyone, and doing demos, but coming up with a way to impart
large chunks of knowledge to students without lecturing has been a struggle. I keep trying to
come up with more interactive ways to involve them in the note taking process, but it is hard.
Ive gotten great feedback from supervisors about how simply moving around the classroom
while lecturing can drastically change how a lecture feels and how asking more open-ended

questions can draw students in more and help me better formatively assess their understanding.
When I begin teaching next year, I hope to continue doing well in my current areas of strength
and work daily on the areas that need improvement.
Additionally, working to make sure my practices properly meet the needs of all students
has been challenging, but also very rewarding. I made it a point to review all my students 504
and IEP plans before teaching, so that I was following all guidelines previously agreed upon. In
addition, I made sure when circulating to speak with every student at least once to personally
assess how they were doing with the content, This then helped me better serve them and the
whole class because I could see patterns of confusion and comprehension and re-address
anything that I deemed necessary. I also found myself including more group work in my classes
as student understanding seemed to improve drastically when they had a chance to discuss with
their peers what we had previously covered. This not only helped students academically, but I
found it kept students better engaged for the duration of the lesson and collaboration of this sort
helps build essential social skills. Finally, I made the decision to allow students to make
corrections on some of their assignments. This gave students a chance to revisit material and go
over content that they previously struggled with. Most students took this seriously and were able
to bring up both their grades and understanding. I believe these adaptations helped improve my
pedagogy, but also, and more importantly, I believe it helped all my students to better learn the
material and enjoy learning it.