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Outcome 1: The BC candidate uses practices which nurture the whole child/adolescent

within the learning community.

A student's needs for love and belongingness will never be fulfilled if they feel like a
stranger in their classroom. Students must have a supportive environment of community and
learning to be able to thrive. I can only control their environment when they are in my classroom,
but that space and time should be a place where they are holistically nurtured through individual
expression, security, and acceptance.
Before I started teaching, I thought that was under the misapprehension that knowledge
was sufficient qualification for a teacher. I have come to realize that the most essential qualities
of a teacher are not what is reiterated from textbook knowledge, but the commitment of a person
with a greater experience and wholehearted care of each student. It is not always the most solid,
logical, and factual argument that incites a student to love to learn--it is a personal experience or
a narrative, a story rather than dry facts.
By identifying with aspects of my students lives, and celebrating our commonalities and
distinctions, I hope to transform my classroom int a place where each individual they can
question, develop, and explore their own identities. I hope to achieve this by giving my students
respect, by treating them like human beings instead of liabilities, and by consistently impressing
upon them the value of their contributions. I will be teaching teenagers who are in the process of
becoming adults, and the goal is for them to grow into my attitude towards them. They have
restrictions and limitations that a class of my peers would not have, but they do not deserve less
dignity or courtesy.

I want to be an English teacher so I can teach them to express themselves. English is the
medium by which they can change the world, unleash the tensions that war inside every person,
and connect on the deepest level with other people. Writing can often be a pathway to selfdiscovery, and my hope would be that the way I approach literacy in the classroom
communicates that message. I want my subject matter to empower them, to bring them closer
together as a class and as a school community. Some of the most powerful writing assignments
can be those of introspection. We will not only analyze a text in my class, but analyze ourselves
and share our discoveries with our little community.
I am expecting to make many, many mistakes a through the course of my teaching career,
but I will always have one essential attribute to bring to my classI sincerely care about my
students. Every child I had in music lessons, every student I have tutored, and all six hundred
fifty eight kids I directly ministered to as part of my year of retreat ministry are indelible marks
in my being. I have seen students years after having taught them a lesson, and they always light
up when they find that I have remembered their name, or what their expectations for the future
were. Each student is someone who needs to be loved and nurtured, and who has the capacity to
transform society, but these great potentials will not be realized without formulators who care
more about the student than money, or having a job, or even themselves.
After having enough exposure to students in such a formative environment, it is
impossible to ignore the variety of strengths and abilities that a student can bring to the group.
Sometimes the students with the greatest capacity for remembering facts or analyzing
information can have the most trouble interacting with their peers. Sometimes a student will have
incredibly developed visual skills, but struggles with the verbal ones. They need to know that
even though the classroom environment and the study of English are focused on certain aspects

of formation, every intelligence and skill they have to offer can be a valuable resource to the
classroom community. I hope to help them learn to challenge themselves in weaker aspects, but
to utilize and develop any natural skills or proclivities they already possess. It will be up to me as
a teacher to construct my lessons and activities in such a manner as to celebrate these
distinctions, and also cater to them. The information will have to be presented under various
mediums, and the assignments developed should cover a variety of skill bases and learning
styles.
The tools and supportive environment of the classroom should, I hope, bring my students
to a place of motivation and incentive, but if I have that expectation of them, it must be realized a
thousand times over in myself. Every second of lecture, activity, and interaction I give them must
be fully dedicated, energetic, and engaged. They deserve a model of hard work and passion to
become hardworking and passionate themselves. Also, as I will be working with teenagers, my
interactions with them are going to be very different from that of an elementary school teacher. I
also owe them humor and an understanding of popular culture. I will need to expect much from
them, but only as much as they can achieve with a degree success. They, in turn, have the right to
expect much from me.
I saw my sister blossom under the tutelage of a teacher who simply encouraged her
natural gifts, and valued her personhood. She became more confident, ambitious, and motivated.
She worked harder, became organized, and positive. She praises this teacher on a regular basis,
hanging on the life advice and genuine interest she is given. I want to be a teacher like that. I
want to be a teacher who transforms, who dissolves the struggles of shame, and who brings
affirmation and unity to one of the hardest periods of a person's life.

Outcome 2: The BC candidate uses his/her understanding of communication and human


behavior to create a classroom community that fosters positive social interaction,
collaboration, and active inquiry.
Standing in front of a class imparting knowledge to young, unformed minds can all too
easily turn into an exercise in egotism: learning should be student centered, which means that
attention and focus should not be directed from student to teacher, but from teacher to student. It
should be activerather than the student sitting in a chair receiving knowledge, it should be an
interpersonal acquisition and analysis, largely achieved through group work. It is a complex
relationship which involves social negotiation and shared responsibility.
Language and literature is an ideal medium for cooperative learning, but it can be a
mistake to assume that students understand how to work in groups. I coached Irish music bands
for several years, and it was always a surprise to see a group of individually phenomenal
musicians come together and create cacophony. Interdependence is not necessarily an intuitive
skill: listening and learning from peers, relying on their contributions and advice, and sharing
leadership are skills that even some adults have not mastered. It is little wonder that when the
words group project get bandied about, students cringe.
Some common shortcomings of group work are that it can remove individual
accountability, that cooperation is not fundamental and necessary to the assignment, and that
critical reflection and feedback is only offered for the assignment and not group dynamics. How
can these difficulties be reconciled with the necessity of group work? It is an integral and
fundamental aspect of education, because interpersonal learning takes place between individuals
who work together to build a shared knowledge construct.
Group projects should be carefully designed by the teacher with tasks and individual

assessment. They should be primary be conducted as problem solving or creative exercises that
would be impossible or overly difficult to complete by oneself, ensuring a distribution of
responsibility amongst the team members. Particularly in elementary education, students should
be taught how to work in groups, with a teacher facilitating their allocation of roles and
determination of group expectations. Students should rotate being leaders of projects, taking
more and more responsibility with experience and age. Additionally, peer evaluations will allow
students to give insight to the teacher about the dynamics of the group, and the criticism
contained therein can hold students accountable to high quality interactions and positive work
ethic.
The nature of these projects must be inherently upbuilding, rather than competitive.
While competition is difficult to eliminate completely from a classroom, the overall focus of the
procedures should be of mutual high achievement of goals rather than overcoming another
student or group. As an English teacher, cooperative activities will include large and small group
discussion, peer critique of written and oral work, collaborative research, and theatrical
performance (such as reenactments of sections of Shakespeare and Wilde).
If the skills acquired through these activities remained confined to the classroom, students
would be justified in thinking them worthless busy work. Fortunately, with the growing use of
social media and accessibility of the internet, it is wondrously simple to help students bring their
constructive contributions to the larger community. Blogs, articles, and public writing forums are
responsible for my love of writing, and when students see the impact that the written and spoken
word can have in their community, I hope it inspires them to change it for the better.

Outcome 3: The BC candidate respects and promotes diversity while creating instructional
opportunities that meet the needs of students from diverse cultural backgrounds and those
with exceptionalities.
I have always disliked the question Do you like kids? My response will frequently be
Do you like adults? To lump all kids into one homogenous category is insulting, and
assumes that all of them will share a set of predictable traits. My future classes will not consist of
smart kids and challenged kids, African kids and Polish kids, poor kids and rich kids, foreign and
native kids. My classrooms will be filled with individuals, from a variety of backgrounds and
valuable experiences. Each one will have had circumstance, culture, relationships, education, and
environment which formed them into who they are. Each one will have struggles and strengths,
an optimal way to learn, passions and dislikes. Some may not be able to read, some may have
read more books than I. Cognitively, and to a certain extent, behaviorally, my high-school
classroom cannot be treated as a classroom of adults, but that does not diminish their
personhood, or my responsibility to treat them as such.
My approach to diversity is through individual assessment. What does this student bring
that contributes positively to the classroom? What can we learn from this student? What new
perspectives does he or she have to offer? What learning weaknesses does this student face?
What is most exciting or most detestable, important or unimportant, to him or her? What
progress is this student making? What learning styles and content have proven difficult, and
which have been effective? What cognitive or behavioral inhibitions does this student face?
What environmental factors are influencing his or her educational experience? These are not
passive questions. I will be constantly asking these questions, directly and indirectly, in the
classroom. Assignments will be geared to bring out these answers to empower the students and

myself to co-create the learning environment. My hope would be that, in imitation of my attitude,
my students will not see this or that student as different, but all students as unique individuals.
For those students who experience difficulties in learning, either from cognition,
environment, or family, the educational community of the school should be a haven of reason
and structure. The educational experience should be one of empowerment and freedom, and be
most beneficial to those students to the struggling students. If students have difficult
circumstances or unconventional backgrounds, their experience can be extremely beneficial to
their classmates' acquisition of empathy and support. The educational community should be a
place where problems are solved, not created.
Behind this classroom environment is a responsibility of awareness on my part. I live
near the city of Chicago, and have worked at high-poverty schools and very posh private schools.
To class students according to what is on a their initial forms or because they go to a certain
school would be an utter failure for me as a teacher. It is my job to find out where they come
from and what they need. I will need to be aware of clever kids who have learned to cope with
disabilities so successfully that previous teacher have been unaware of them. I will need to be
aware of the kids that are diagnosed with learning disabilities but have in reality just been bored
out of their minds. I once taught a weekly fifth grade class, and one boy was quick to respond
when I asked him a question, but would not complete any of the written assignments. A bit closer
observation revealed that he did not know how to read, so after that I made a point of
accommodating the assignments to his reading level. He was clever, though, and a teacher with a
larger class who had been less attentive might have missed his difficulty, because he could
memorize so many things. I also taught a weekly class of fourth graders where only two of the
students knew how to read and write in English. The curriculum I was given consisted mostly of

reading and worksheets, and so needed to be drastically modified. These situations require
flexibility and pedagogical expertise, and a certain degree of reliance on non-conventional
methods.
My teaching experiences, travel abroad, and childhood interest in Eastern culture have
left me convinced that a solely Westernized perspective can be damaging to intellectual growth.
When I travelled to Haiti, I many preconceived notions about how different the people would be,
that I would not be able to communicate with them because of language barriers, and other such
fears. What I found instead was that, despite speaking Creole and living in extreme poverty, we
shared the same human experience, were moved to tears and joy by the same things, and found
comfort and hope in the same source. Students must not be confined to the wisdom of their own
culture and age, but discover the truths found in other societal structures and the beauties and
habits of other cultures. I hope to foster a global perspective in students, and also allow them to
identify their own cultures in the course of the curriculum.

Outcome 4: The BC candidate builds partnerships with students, colleagues, families and
community groups to enhance communication and learning.
Because of my non-conventional learning background, I have never considered the school
as the only public institution with the education of citizens in mind. A school can work with the
wider communitythe libraries, the sports facilities, museums, religious establishments, etcto
provide a system of support and learning for students. I should encourage participation in extracurricular activities, use of the library, and community service outside of school. Most
importantly, I as a teacher should cooperate with the parents, involving them in their students'
education as much as possible.
It will be up to to me to construct the class material in such a way that the parents can be
involved without taking the responsibility of learning away from the students. I have gotten a
myriad of ideas from experienced teachers about ways to bring the family community into the
classroom. English is all about communication, so interviews, presentations, and writings that
involve family members are not difficult to incorporate. Other communal interactions can be
conducted similarly, drawing students into involvement with their libraries, public services, and
neighbors. Technological advances make it easier to have students engage a wider audience than
the classroom. I intend to encourage guided use of youtube channels, blogs, forums, and other
social media to make learning a global experience.
My relationship with my students, my students' relationships with each other, and our
relationship with the parents, administrators, other teachers, and larger community is of extreme
importance to me. I intend to have consistent, frequent, and thorough communication with my
students' parents. I will also encourage my students to apply their educational experience to the
benefit of the community. I have already learned invaluable skills from my various teacher
mentors and peers, and in the future I will continue that dialogue with my colleges. I will also

look for opportunities for participation in the school's community for my class and myself.
I have much to learn about community, but I fortunately have many examples here at
Benedictine whom I can observe and imitate. I participated in a week long session of seminars at
the beginning of the school year, and was able to see what content and style of facilitation could
contribute to community spirit. One professor began the session by putting us, the participants, in
charge of environment to make it more comfortable and conducive. Instead of a strict outlining
of expectations, she guided the construction of the protocol throughout the seminar. The opening
question, the format of the discussion, the extent we relied on the text, and even the facilitation to
an extent was determined by ourselves. She incorporated guidelines as the session progressed
and through the observation of our interactions introduced strategies to ensure that each person
was empowered to contribute. When it became clear that there were several people
predominantly contributory to the discussing, she introduced a suggestion to have us inquire into
whomever's opinion we were interested in. Knowing that we were a charitable group, this
strategy served to bring quieter people into the discussion without singling them out. Even then,
she was modifying the interactions by hearing our input on the strategy. She pointed out our
body language and made us aware of what we were communicating by posture and gesture.
Her methodology was decidedly less academic and structured, but profoundly community
building. The discussion became personal, as people shared life experiences and individual
input. Because of the set up and format of the seminar, people felt free to share about themselves,
and did so in depth. I learned more about my fellow students from that seminar than in the whole
week of previous seminar interactions combined. The valuable background and personality each
person brought forward in context of the discussion could never have been purely academically
generated. The atmosphere of our surroundings, the configuration of our seats (in a circle with no

tables in between), and the people we were seated by (rearranged several times after we initially
sat down), gave us a safe place to gently stretch the boundaries of our familiarity with each
other, all from the professor's construct.
With practice I hope that my students come to work as a community, and to share
intellectual ideas and talents to build a dynamic educational environment. As I come to learn
facilitation, through the observation and practice of the aforementioned strategies, I aim to
spread the atmosphere of mutual respect and empowerment to the larger school community, and
beyond.

Outcome 5

The roles of the teacher are easy to describe, but difficult to implement. I will need to be
constantly energetic and innovative. I will need to have true mastery of my content area. I will
need to know poets and poems and writers and history and terms and writing methods and
vocabulary all at my fingertips. I will need to know how to teach reading and writing and literary
analysis in a hundred different ways. I will need to know how to facilitate discussion, ask
provoking questions, and come up with instigative problems for student analysis. My job will be
difficult, because I have little tolerance for teacher ineptitude. My future students are of the
paramount importance to me, and my views on my duties as a teacher and the role of education
already profoundly impact my own educational experience, driving me to work hard in content
mastery and in learning to convey information logically and engagingly.

Outcome 6: The BC Candidate is a reflective builder of community who continually


evaluates the effects of his/her actions on others and who actively seeks out opportunities to
grow professionally.
My desire to become a teacher was born from the love of Truth. I have had high
expectations from every book I have read, and from every intellectual guide in my life. I hold an
even higher expectation for myself. As a teacher I will constantly be reflecting on my
performance, methods, and my students' progress to critically evaluate opportunities for
improvement and growth. I expect every class and every student to be different, which will
require adaptation and flexibility combined with pedagogical excellence. My students' success
will be dependent on my ability to analyze my own performance, modify and improve, and learn
from the vast network of professionals who have themselves gone through a rigorous process of
self-reflection and valuable experience.
I perceive reflection as a recollection in tranquillity, a chance to review the valuable
experiences of a day, of a month, or a life, or a single experience. I have kept a reflective log of
learning experiences for a number of years, and it has become a daily habit. However, a simple
reflection is not valuable without critique and action. For myself, it will be important to go over
my lesson plans, my personal philosophy, expectations, and student performance to see which
areas require amendment and alteration. This means that each reflection is supplemented by
resolutionafter the points that need improvement have been identified, it is a simple process to
construct and implement the revision. Short term, this could simply be the every day teaching
techniques, or an aspect of the lesson plan. Long term, there may be times I need to evaluate
what I expect of myself or my students, what seems to be working or not working for them over
the course of several years, and if holistically everything I am doing is in their best interest.

When involved in tutoring, both at home and as part of the required experience of the
Benedictine education program, reflection has helped me stay accountable to techniques I want
to try, or to systematically record effective strategies. [for expansion, the development of the
rubrik with the kowalchuck kids]
The most beautiful thing about community is unitive effects of multiple perspectives.
With the help of fellow teachers and input of my students, I will be able to incorporate ideas that
may never have occurred to me analyzing and reflecting in isolation. When I was running
retreats in high schools, my favorite part was going over the student evaluations. It was so
helpful to see which aspects of the day were tedious to them, and which they found most
enlightening. After retreats were over, my team of fellow retreat leaders could also offer
suggestions for improvement, and while the student responses were always helpful, the critique
of peers and superiors was inestimably precious. When interviewing experienced teachers, I have
been told that the most important tool to my professional development will be the input of my
colleges. If I had any doubts of this, they were banished when I attended a student NEA
conference in Illinois. The presenters at the conference were all highly effective teachers with
years of experience; what I learned in that single afternoon outweighs everything I ever learned
in an education textbook. The ideas varied in subject from classroom management to facilitation
of discussion to the relative merits of various textbooks and curriculum resources.
The professional development I already engage in is of the textbook variety. My
opportunity to collaborate in the classroom and converse with fellow teachers is somewhat
limited, but opportunities for knowledge acquisition in my subject matter is and always will be
abundant. My future students are a constant motivation for me to perform my best, to do
assignments thoroughly, and apply my utmost attention and industry to my studies. When I am in

the classroom full time, I will be constantly reviewing the literature we are studying as a class, as
well as perpetually learning the popular literature, and even popular culture, that my students will
be familiar with. These referents are not only a basis for relationship building conversation, but
give opportunities for scaffolding and mnemonics that will be catered to the student instead the
teacher.
The failure of any student of mine is my failure also. To be content with the knowledge I
already possess is a reflection of ignorance and lack of industry. In a web of interdependence, I
will be a contribution to community of educators and students, and my intellect, passion, and
personhood is at the service of this community