Goal 5: Display commitment to professional involvement and growth through continual learning, reflective practice, and collaboration.

To teach is to learn. As educators, it is our responsibility to become life-long learners. There is always something that we can learn about. We can learn about our content area, pedagogy, classroom management, and issues affecting students today. We can continue to learn by going to workshops, continuing our education, researching best practices, collaborating, or simply reflecting on our own practices. The world is continuously changing and it is our responsibility to provide the students with a learning environment that is engaging, meaningful, positive, and will prepare them with the skills needed in today’s society.

Learning is a continuous process that can energize people. Learning involves having an idea or an experience that we feel would benefit the students. We then must take our idea further and study it. This may be done through workshops, classes, research, or collaboration. The entire time that we are in this process, we must think about how this would best help the student. Once we study and research, we must use what we learned and implement it. If we do not continue to try new strategies and use the knowledge that we gained, then we are not growing as professionals and the students are not receiving the education they deserve. Once we implement, we can’t stop there. We must reflect on what worked and what didn’t. The purpose of reflection is to enhance awareness of our own thoughts and practices in order to grow. This can be a challenging process. Many times the best ideas come from when educators reflect together. Collaboration can help make this process easier and more meaningful. Our math department has the opportunity to meet weekly and we reflect on what practices work and which need to be improved. Through the entire reflection process we are learning and brainstorming ideas that would help our students. As we grow and brainstorm new ideas, the learning process starts all over again.

As educators, we need to remember why we do what we do. We are here to provide the best possible learning environment for the students. The only way that we can continue to improve that environment is through the process of learning. Learning is an endless process that doesn’t have to be completed alone. We must become life-long learners in order to best help our students grow in their educational experience.

Artifact 1

This artifact is a professional development plan that I wrote four years ago. When I wrote it, I was only in my third year of teaching and I realized that I had many things to learn. This was a plan that I came up with that would help me grow as a teacher. It included what I was going to do and why I was going to do it. It included area that I wanted to improve and ideas of how I was going to seek those answers. This artifact shows my desire to keep learning and growing as a teacher.

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Artifact 2

This artifact is an autobiographical self-analysis paper that I wrote this year. This paper displays professional growth because it made me reflect on who I am and how this helps me as a teacher. Part of growing professionally is being able to reflect on not only the practices we incorporate in our classroom, but also the reason why we do what we do. We need to know who we are and where we come from to get a true understanding of what values we want to instill in our students. This paper made me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses as not only a human being, but also as a teacher. By doing this, I realized that there is a considerable amount of growth and learning that needs to occur in my teaching. This artifact demonstrated that reflective process needed to grow as a professional.

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Artifact 3

This artifact is a presentation of the various workshops, trainings, math classes, and committees that I completed in conjunction with working on my Master’s Degree. I chose to compile a list and give a brief description of something I gained from the experience. I chose to provide a description because I believe that growing professionally not only means that I take part in the event, but it also means that I learn something and utilize what I learned. I have only been teaching for seven years, but I can already see that there are always opportunities to learn something new. This artifact shows that I am just beginning my professional development, but I am sure that the list that I started will continue to grow.

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Artifact 4

This artifact expresses my professional goal for the 2012-2013 school year. At the beginning of every year, we send a short explanation to our building principal of something we want to improve on in our teaching or classroom. We also get together with our specific content department and come up with a measurable S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goal that we would like to accomplish by the end of the school year. This shows professional development because by reflecting on what I want to improve and communicating that with the principal, I am held responsible to work to accomplish that goal. Also by communicating this goal with the principal, I can ask for advice on how to improve. These goals are specific and make me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses. By doing this every year I continue to grow and improve as an educator, one goal at a time.

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