- Professional Practice: 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.
Professional Issues/Abuse was an insightful and engaging class for me to take as an emerging educator in the American school system. The class modules covered topics such as: protecting student confidentiality, unprofessional conduct, teacher collaboration and parent communication. Each one of these modules helped me understand the broad scope of how to adhere to professional behavior. Two of the modules that resonated with me the most were, module 2, “trouble areas for new teachers” and module 8, “how can teachers collaborate, coach, and consult with one another to improve?”
Trouble Areas for New Teachers
Having worked in cross-cultural education for twelve years, it was easy for me to guess what the trouble areas are for new teachers. However, it was still fascinating to read the research behind what areas and why teachers have challenges their first year. In the article, Phases of First-Year Teaching author Ellen Moir describes five phases teachers usually go through their first year: anticipation, survival, disillusionment, rejuvenation, and reflection. This research is an on going collection of data conducted by Santa Crus New Teacher Project over the past 27 years. Moir states, “While not every new teacher goes through this exact sequence, these phases are very useful in helping everyone involved in the process of supporting new teachers” (page 1). Furthermore, research indicates that when teachers are more aware of these phases they are more likely to seek out support they need to get through the phase.
It was interesting to see how my own classmates responded to this article. For example, Kendel Carver commented, “These wide ranges of feelings are important to remember when I am a first year teacher. It will be important to know that my potential or current feelings are ones that many other first- year teachers have experienced and that encouragement and joy will follow the difficult months” (Module 2 reflection, October 10, 2015). Connor Desai shared her response to the article with the following comments, “Unfortunately, I feel like I am going through Moir’s phase of survival right now. While I feel like I should be smooth sailing, especially in a private school with small class sizes, a supportive administration, and seemingly endless resources; the reality is that my entire bandwidth feels taken up by school obligations” (Kind of unloading here….sorry, October 10, 2015). In addition Jaci Gregg shared her veteran colleague’s feedback. She said, “I shared Moir’s Phases with a teacher, she is not a first year teacher, but this is her first year as a special education teacher. I spend a small part of my day in her classroom. Her students are considered level 1 in our school; they are all self contained and non-verbal. She agreed with the phases, believing that she is in the survival phase as she is spending a large amount of extra time creating IEPs, planning lessons, activities, and meetings with parents and other special education teachers for help/ideas” (module 2, October 13, 2015). I found Module 2’s discussion engaging and applicable. More importantly I was encouraged at how our group discussion offered support and encouragement to each other.
How can teachers collaborate, coach, and consult with one another to improve?
I really enjoyed reading the articles about teacher collaboration and different ways to observe and take part in teacher collaboration. In addition to reading the articles I also watched the presentation, Improving Practice through Collaborating, Coaching, and Consulting. This presentation focused on the following four key areas:
- Why there is such a high burnout rate for new teachers (half of all new teachers’ leave within 5 years).
- Relationships as antidote to burnout,
- Obstacles to teacher collaboration, and
- Models of teacher collaboration.
I enjoyed the reading and presentation so much because over the years I have worked hard to support new teachers and help teachers who may be experiencing burnout. I have seen teacher burnout and it is not pleasant. I understand why new teachers may feel overwhelmed with the responsibility they have been given. Without the proper support, relationship and leadership teachers can easily take too much on. I have also watched teachers take on things that they were not trained how to do well. The result is frustration, negativity and stress. I like the models of teacher collaboration that were presented to viewers during the presentation (Summary notes, November 19, 2015). They suggested that teachers form professional circles, collaborate with critical friends/colleagues, create professional learning communities and welcome teacher coaching into the classroom. Of these models, I would like to apply working in professional learning communities into my school because it is collaborative, supportive and provides structure in targeting change within educational communities. I am also interested in learning more about the coaching model. I think this could also be an effective collaborative model, especially for new teachers.
Professional Issues/Abuse is a practical and necessary class for emerging educators. The modules are set up in such a way to provide evidence and support regarding professional issues that teachers will need in order to navigate the American educational system.
Carver, Kendell 2015). Module 2 reflection. Retrieved from Seattle Pacific University blackboard website, October 10, 2015.
Denton, D. (2014). Improving Practice through Collaborating, Coaching, and Consulting. Retrieved from www.youtube.com, November 20, 2015.
Desai, C. (2015). Kind of Unloading Here….Sorry. Retrieved from Seattle Pacific University blackboard website, October 10, 2015.
Gregg, J. (2015). Module 2. Retrieved from Seattle Pacific University blackboard website, October 13, 2015.
Moir, E. (1990). . California New Teacher Project.
York, T. (2015). Summary Notes, Retrieved from Seattle Pacific University blackboard website, November 19, 2015.