Regarding Curriculum and Instruction
I believe that curriculum should be carefully selected to match the academic content for each grade level and that instruction should be based on means to facilitate and/or accelerate student learning.
I believe this because during my professional career, working at different grade levels from K – 5th grade, I have observed how important it is to have effective learning targets in all grade levels. I am particularly pleased with the new Common Core curriculum because I believe that it will fill the gap; that critical thinking piece that was missing in our old curriculum standards.
We are in a transitioning phase from State Standards to Common Core. To minimize the impact of these changes, teachers have to use their analytical abilities to understand the new curriculum and their best teaching skills to deliver lessons that align with the new material. We are working with a curriculum that is still a work in progress with many undefined details. Teachers are facing the challenge of making the curriculum comprehensive for their students and to fill all those gaps necessary to scaffold their way to teach at grade level. The objective is to get students ready to undertake the next grade level curriculum by the end of this school year.
Issues/aspects of curriculum and instruction:
For example: Formulating Meaningful input for students, students reaching the right level of maturity to fully understand the subjects being taught, Adjusting to the proper level of difficulty at all grade levels, Vertical and horizontal alignment such that all teachers are focusing on a common developing goal.
And Curriculum adoptions (materials aligned with district goals)
I’d like to talk about: Vertical and horizontal alignment.
Explain your example: Based on my personal experience as a teacher in a program that demands a great deal of collaboration; I find that vertical and horizontal alignment are important factors that guarantee students growth and success. Prior to my fist experience as a kinder teacher, I had taught first and second grade for a couple of years. With my knowledge of second grade curriculum criteria, and based on the Kinder goals, I had set the expectations for my students. Having a specific end in mind helped me bring my students closer to their final goal and strong enough to have a successful first grade. My knowledge of first and second grade curriculum helped me make a conscious effort to meet or surpass the skills necessary for their success in the subsequent years. In my current position, horizontal alignment has helped all teachers in our team to calibrate accordingly, to keep up with the pacing, and to stay focused in meeting curriculum goals to ensure that we are covering all the essential components for our grade level.
Regarding Parent and Community Involvement
I believe that student’s performance is directly affected by parent involvement and that schools should interchangeably support public events and be considered part of the community.
I believe this because I have seen a clear pattern taking form during the ten years I have been in the classroom. Our school is well known for having an outstanding ratio of parent participation and it is clear that those students, whose parents show interest in their education, display more interest in their academic performance, exhibit higher levels of achievement, and participate more in extracurricular activities involving the community. This leads to fostering a better learning environment in which students feel like school is an inviting place to learn.
Issues/aspects of Parent and Community Involvement:
For example: Attendance, minimizing drop out rates, motivation and incentives to stay in school, community as the bridge to make connections between learning and real life situations, welcoming/inviting environment.
And seeing schools as safe and cohesive places for children.
I’d like to talk about: Advantages of parent involvement in schools.
Explain your example: One of the advantages of having a strong support from parents and the community is that schools can extend their activities to teach students about other disciplines such as citizenship, life skills, health and wellbeing, or to help them participate and be more involved in their community events such as county fairs, parades, to name some. Students whose parents are more aware of the events that take place in schools are also better informed about programs and classes offered to help students who may need that extra support to succeed in class. It is a win-win situation. Parents send a clear message to their own children that education is important and that they are supportive. In the same way, all students benefit from their support because they help bring more funds to our schools by organizing fundraisers, events and contributing their time and skills to help all students and become positive role models.
Regarding Discipline and School Culture/Climate
I believe that it is important to identify the discipline problems and to establish a new culture that supports positive behavior that is targeted and consistent for all students.
I believe this because every school faces different discipline issues. Discipline is one of the biggest challenges in the school system. When the real problem is overlooked and not addressed, the disciplinary issues continue to occur. Aside from implementing and enforcing rules, schools should have a support system that includes counseling. Students need to learn and identify acceptable behavior practices.
Issues/aspects of discipline and school culture/climate:
For example Discipline takes an important role in learning, It is important to have a plan of action and regulations in place. Rules need to be consistent and fair. Students need to see clear consequences, rules need to be enforced by all staff. Schools should have: a democratic environment, respect, an inviting welcoming climate.
And Build a community of leaders.
I’d like to talk about: How engagement improves students’ discipline.
Explain your example: I have been in a classroom for eight years and it is a known fact that engagement plays a very important role in learning. I have seen many teachers claim that their students are fully engaged because they keep themselves busy and follow the teacher’s directions. Somehow, to me, it did not quite seems like there was much learning happening in those classes. As much as students may seem busy in class they may not be completely engaged and they may start having disciplinary issues. I have learned that engagement plays a very important role in discipline and that students are most likely to behave when they understand and follow the lessons and perform just as well as the rest of the class.
I believe that: Education should focus on teaching students 21st century skills.
I believe this because the students themselves are already manifesting the demand to learn 21st century skills. Students are already using the networks to learn more about the skills they need to interact in the digital communities. There is an urgent need for school to produce responsible technology literate students. Today’s elementary students are carrying the new trend of the digital era where skills such as planning, critical thinking, creativity, and digital citizenship are going to be essential to subsist. As difficult as it is to predict what kind of jobs will emerge, we could at least attempt to prepare students with talents that will offer strong communication skills, cross cultural understanding, manipulation and analysis of data, and decision-making.
Issues/aspects of Technology
For example: How to use and manipulate ready available resources, taking advantage of technology to increase students’ engagement, how technology allows students to access to most up to date information, how teachers take more a role of facilitator, technology as an extension of the classroom, enabling students to be in control of their own learning and promoting self initiative, advantages of providing more resources that are less costly.
And the ability to provide differentiated instruction to all students with special needs.
I’d like to talk about: Selecting the appropriate learning tools.
Explain your example: When I started my teaching career I remember taking a technology class in which we had to create a rubric about how to select software to supplement our teaching using computers for our students. It is really exciting to learn that I am doing something very similar, except now, we are focusing on using Web 2.0. The criteria, on selecting technology are basically the same; except that now we need to make sure to include an interactive component. It is important to ensure that the technological component really targets the desired goal. Many times the desired outcome gets overlooked or never reached by the students. Interaction and feedback is also an important factor to consider, we need to include a tool that allow s students to exchange ideas such as a blog or an interactive website with a discussion board in encouraging students to participate on a discussion relevant to the subjects. Just as important as selecting the right technological tool and to encourage students to participate, we need to be able to keep track or monitor the effectiveness of the technology used. This could ensure that the engagement and the learning are really happening among students.
NEA Policy Brief. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/PB11_ParentInvolvement08.pdf>.
SecurEdge Networks. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <http://www.securedgenetworks.com/strategy-blog/10-Reasons-Today-s-Students-NEED-Technology-in-the-Classroom>.
Horner, R., & Sugai, G. (n.d.). School - wide Positive Behavior Support. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://media.esc14.net/ctl/lspraggins/Schoolwide/Assement Tools Surveys/PBIS Survey and tools/SchoolWidePBS08.pdf
I consider myself a leader based on moral dimensions. I believe that leaders should focus in ethical reasoning. In his book, Green addresses the importance of justice and equality of leading to obtain maximum productivity by building a sense of community and trust. It also talks about a principle of respect in which beliefs and values of others are considered and valued. It emphasizes the importance of treating individuals as ends and not as means to achieve the ends. I believe that school leaders should be genuine and transparent. They should work in collaborative democracy, keeping in mind common interests rather than individual.
ETHICS - When I think of a person carrying him/herself ethically, I think of someone who cares about his/her job performance, someone who maintains a set level of quality in his/her job, Someone who shows passion for their job.
RESPECT – Creating a culture where professionals respect themselves by respecting others, being honest, non-bias. Also being respected by authority figures by avoiding micromanagement, bossiness, and favoritisms.
PROFESIONALISM- Having a staff that demonstrates independency by knowing how to handle small problems, being able to carry on with assigned job(s). Consistency by following-up issues, not leaving loose ends. Being collaborative, open for suggestions, showing flexibility, actively participating. Being knowledgeable, able to apply and willing to share.
SAFETY- Good classroom management, Following and implementing safety rules, using common sense, complying with supervision duties, help create a safe learning environment.
GROWTH- An ongoing learner willing to learn, improve, or update his/her instructional skills.
Green, R. (2013). Contemporary Theories and Approaches to School Leaderships. In Practicing the Art of Leading (4th ed., p. 294). New Yersey: Pearson Education.
Becker, G. (2009). Journal of International Business Ethics. Moral Leadership in Business, Vol.2 No.1 2009(1 2009), 15-15. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://www.americanscholarspress.com/content/BusEth_Abstract/v2n109 art1.pdf
6 non-negotiables for beginning teachers. (2013, May 1). Retrieved March 6, 2015, from https://dennissparks.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/6-non-negotiables-that-i-would-want-to-see-at-the-beginning-of-a-teachers-career/
Membership. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2015, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may04/vol61/num08/What-Is-a-Professional-Learning-Community¢.aspx
I believe that the beginnings of my career started in the early years of my education. I attended school in Mexico during my formative years and acquired a strong foundation of my native language (Spanish). Later, I continued my education in Mexico City pursuing to major in English language and literature at Universidad National Autónoma de México (1984). This is when I formally started learning English as a second language. Although on the surface it may seem like this major has no connection with my present job in education and my aspiration to obtain a leadership position, I firmly believe that my firs college years marked the direction of where I am now.
In 1988 I immigrated to California and bilingualism opened more doors for me, allowing me to advance promptly into my teaching career. I decided to re-take my career ten years later at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. Although I had a late jump in my career and started with with non-credit ESL classes, I still managed to obtain an A.A. in Liberal Arts (1999). It was then when I transferred to Cal Poly SLO to pursue a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish (2001). Soon after, I obtained my BCLAD Multiple Subject Credential (2003). Once more, ten years later, I am back to school working towards obtaining a Master’s in Education Leadership with an emphasis in Technology at San Diego State University.
I come from a long line of educators, my father and grandfather were teachers and most of my relatives are in this field as well. I started my career in education in as a kinder teacher in an English immersion program in Mexico City during the school year of 1985-86. After living in California for one year, I went back to Mexico City and worked as an English teacher in a private Language Academy for one year in 1987.
In 1995, years after I immigrated to California, I got hired at Santa Maria Bonita School District. For seven years I was part of their language assessment team at the Consolidated Projects Office. I was in charge of my own schedule and my job was to administer at least six different assessment instruments for oral and written Spanish and English language proficiency for grades kinder through eighth. Once I obtained my teaching credential I was hired for a Saturday school program as a Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA) for English Language Intensive Literacy Program (ELILP) grant (2003).
When I moved to San Diego area, I held two long term substitute teacher position at National School District; National City, California. One was at John Otis Elementary (2004) and the second at New Horizons School (2005). I stayed in the later school to finish the year as an Impact Teacher working with students that were ranked: Basic, Below Basic, Far Below Basic according to CST scores. During this time, I also taught supplemental classes in Reading and Mathematics for before and after school intervention programs. Because of my tutoring experience, I was hired at Cajon Valley Union School District; El Cajon, California (2006) as a Literacy Support Teacher at Lexington Elementary under direct supervision of different classroom teachers. I was solely responsible for implementing the entire language arts curriculum on a kinder and first grade class, as well as teaching specific skills in different grade levels in English and Spanish classes in levels ranging from Kinder to 5th grade. I am currently holding a full time position at Riverview International Academy at Lakeside Union School District; Lakeside, California. I started working as a kinder teacher for two years, and then moved to second grade. I have been working there for nine years, since 2006.
Through twenty plus years of attending school and working in the education field, I have seen myself applying several leadership skills. Since the beginning of my education career, working as part of the assessment team at Santa Maria SD, I found myself making schedules and organizing paperwork for the whole team. My communication skills were also largely used during my work experiences as well as my schooling. I had to communicate and make contact with my professors and organizations to obtain grants to continue my education. Also, I had to communicate on a daily basis with principals and teachers at work to schedule tutoring and report about my students’ progress. I have shown confidence by accomplishing several educational and work related goals, I have committed to complete my studies and obtain my degrees and credentials to qualify for several positions. I am committed to my students and parents of my current job; ensuring that my students are academically, socially ready to succeed in third grade. I show a positive attitude with my students, parents and coworkers to create a productive environment at work. As a teacher creativity is a skill that we teachers practice on a daily basis. Last minute decisions, and flexibility is what gets us going further in completing our goals. For my family, my relatives, my friends and many of my students, I have been a positive role model and a good example that has inspired them to move forward in accomplishing their own dreams and goals in life.
When I started working in the field of education I did not know how much I was going to enjoy my job. What really inspired me to become a teacher was to see how new students (ESL immigrants) were handled in the school system. Due to the nature of my job, I had to pull new students out of the classrooms to give them language assessments. Some of them had only been in the US for a few days and it was really sad to witness how the majority of the teachers did not know what to do with them. Often those children were crying and scared because they felt rejected and helpless. Many times I found them sitting on a far corner of the classroom entertained with puzzles or copying words from a dictionary. Some were told that they had to change their name to an Americanized one because teachers claim their names had a difficult pronunciation. In addition, many students were getting the message that their culture was not good and they ended up feeling ashamed of being Hispanic and lost interest on keeping their home language.
At that moment I wanted to become a teacher to help all those minority students. I wanted to create a multicultural environment at school where students could feel safe and proud of their ethnicities and their home languages. I wanted to create an environment that embraced multiculturalism and multilingualism. Although it is unfortunately, that I ended up moving away from that small farming town that inspired me to become a bilingual teacher, I have now the opportunity to promote multiculturalism and teach a second language to my students. My hope and goal as a bilingual teacher in a language immersion program is to educate and create a new generation of students that value and respect all cultures and to be aware and respect bilingualism because they have experienced how difficult it is to learn and communicate in a different language.
I started my career in education working with ESL students. The one thing that seemed to be a common denominator among all the schools I worked at, was the nonexistent effective strategies and a tremendous lack of interest from the teachers to learn more about these student’s needs, culture, language, and strengths. I knew that if I was to become a teacher I could make a difference in the life of those minority students that were eager to find someone that would acknowledge, respect, and value them as learners. I wanted to become an educator to ensure that all children believe that we (teachers) are committed to provide quality education for them. To ensure that all children’s strengths are recognized and utilized to their full potential by transcending the language barriers. I wanted to be the teacher that celebrates diversity and becomes a role model.
I believe that by offering equal opportunities, all children have the potential to be successful and reach their goals, not only academically, but also for life in general. Educators need to detach from the “one size fits all” concept and differentiate accordingly to meet student’s academic needs and learning styles. All educators should hold high expectations for their students and give them the right tools and skills to become not only good students, but good, productive well rounded citizens as well. Teachers have the arduous labor of modeling and embedding good habits that will serve as pillars to hold them and keep them strong as adults. We should be careful to guide today’s children because they are the world’s future.