Program Standard 8
8. Professional Practice Criteria– The teacher participates collaboratively in the educational community to improve instruction, advance the knowledge and practice of teaching as a profession, and ultimately impact student learning.
8.1 Element – Participating in a Professional Community
8.1 Example of Proficient – Relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation.
During the completion of my coursework for EDU 6918 (Introduction to Teaching), I explored and expanded my knowledge of what it means to effectively work together with my peers and administrators as a future educator and how that will positively influence my students. This quarter I explored the complexity of the standard listed above and determined that collaborative educators have a natural tendency towards personal development. That propensity drives them to reach out to peers to share their newly acquired knowledge, provide their fellow educators with support, and also look to those same individuals for guidance in their quest for improvement. Figure 1 is an example of the coursework that led me to critically think about and further my understanding of what it means to contribute to a professional teaching community. It provides a concrete example of how a teacher might contribute to his or her school and demonstrates the impact of being a part of a cooperative environment. Competent teachers both contribute to and benefit from this kind of symbiotic relationship with peers and administrators and the resulting individual growth of teachers greatly benefits the students in their charge. When educators are able to go to their colleagues and discuss and dissect lesson plans, classroom management techniques, the latest information on culturally responsive teaching, or the newest technology innovation for teaching it is more likely that those things will be improved or newly implemented in their classrooms. Collaboration between teachers can allow them to brainstorm how new techniques and software can be actually realized in their class. Furthermore, it provides teachers a way to assess their teaching practice on a more routine level. While it is critical for new teachers to develop relationships in their educational communities it is also important for them to remember to sustain that same level of commitment as they become more experienced. Part of building and maintaining a cohesive support network of teachers within a school is equal participation. During my student teaching and into my first years as a teacher I will offer support and encouragement to my peers and look to them for guidance. As I gain more experience, I will continue that tradition of community by providing as well as eliciting feedback from other teaching professionals.