Professional

IMG_0489Tamara York

I am from Olympia, Washington, but have spent the last 12 years living in Western China on the Tibetan plateau. I graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI in 2003 where I earned a degree in Classical Greek and Biblical studies. Right after I graduated, my husband and I were married and moved to Tibet. We have spent the last 12 years learning language, engaging in and being contributors to the local community. We have been blessed in raising our two boys (8 and 6 years old) on this adventuresome side of the world.

Interest and Experience in Education

I have had a very unique journey pursuing a career in education. In 2003 I was offered a job at one of the first English training centers in Western China. Although I had very little teaching experience, being a native English speaker landed me the job. I spent the first year teaching oral English to Chinese and Tibetan primary students as well as helping local teachers develop more effective teaching methods and classroom management skills.

From 2004-2009 I continued teaching and became the Foreign Affairs Liaison for the school. Besides teaching, my favorite part of the job was hiring and training foreign English teachers. Training included how to manage a class of 40 Chinese students, working with English-speaking Chinese colleagues, and lesson planning using a multi-sensory approach.

In 2012 I became the principal of the first bilingual kindergarten in Western China. The decade of experience teaching ESL students and working with a multi-cultural staff helped shape the way I desired my preschoolers to grow in a pre-k setting. My passion to see children thrive in a bilingual international educational setting has motivated me to get endorsed in elementary education. What remains at the heart of my pursuit is becoming an effective teacher in order to impact young lives. As a part of pursuing this, I am passionate about learning methodology, curriculum design and teaching strategies.

Purpose of This Portfolio

This portfolio shows my growth in teacher knowledge and skills overtime as I pursue a teaching certificate at Seattle Pacific University.

Expected outcomes are expressed as program standards, which are aligned with State-designated teacher preparation approval criteria shown in WAC 181-78A-270. Program standards include criteria (e.g. 1.), elements (e.g. 1.1), and examples. Any level of the program standard is appropriate for reflection, feedback, or evaluation.

1. ExpectationsThe teacher communicates high expectations for student learning.

1.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy

E.g. Teacher recognizes the value of understanding students’ interests and cultural heritage and displays this knowledge for groups of students.

1.2 Communicating with Students

Teacher’s explanation of content is appropriate and connects with students’ knowledge and experience.

1.3 Engaging Students in Learning

The lesson has a clearly defined structure around which the activities are organized. Pacing of the lesson is generally appropriate.

2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.

2.1 Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques

Most of the teacher’s questions are of high quality. Adequate time is provided for students to respond.

2.2 Engaging Students in Learning

Most activities and assignments are appropriate to students, and almost all students are cognitively engaged in exploring content.

2.3 Reflecting on Teaching

Teacher makes an accurate assessment of a lesson’s effectiveness and the extent to which it achieved its instructional outcomes and can cite general references to support the judgment.

  1. Differentiation – The teacher acquires and uses specific knowledge about students’ cultural, individual intellectual and social development and uses that knowledge to adjust their practice by employing strategies that advance student learning.

3.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Students

Teacher recognizes the value of understanding students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency and displays this knowledge for groups of – students.

3.2 Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness in Lesson Adjustments

Teacher makes a minor adjustment to a lesson, and the adjustment occurs smoothly.

3.3 Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness in Persisting to Support Students

Teacher persists in seeking approaches for students who have difficulty learning, drawing on a broad repertoire of strategies.

  1. Content Knowledge – The teacher uses content area knowledge, learning standards, appropriate pedagogy and resources to design and deliver curricula and instruction to impact student learning.

4.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy

Teacher’s plans and practice reflect familiarity with a wide range of effective pedagogical approaches in the discipline.

4.2 Setting Instructional Outcomes

All the instructional outcomes are clear, written in the form of student learning. Most suggest viable methods of assessment.

4.3 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Learning Activities

All of the learning activities are suitable to students or to the instructional outcomes, and most represent significant cognitive challenge, with some differentiation for different groups of students.

4.4 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Lesson and Unit Structure

The lesson or unit has a clearly defined structure around which activities are organized. Progression of activities is even, with reasonable time allocations.

5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.

5.1 Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport

Teacher-student interactions are friendly and demonstrate general caring and respect. Such interactions are appropriate to the age and cultures of the students. Students exhibit respect for the teacher.

5.2 Managing Classroom Procedures through Transitions

Transitions occur smoothly, with little loss of instructional time.

5.3 Managing Classroom Procedures through Performance of Noninstructional Duties

Efficient systems for performing noninstructional duties are in place, resulting in minimal loss of instructional time.

5.4 Managing Student Behavior by Establishing Expectations

Standards of conduct are clear to all students.

5.5 Managing Student Behavior by Monitoring

Teacher is alert to student behavior at all times.

6. Assessment – The teacher uses multiple data elements (both formative and summative) to plan, inform and adjust instruction and evaluate student learning.

6.1 Designing Student Assessments around Criteria and Standards

Assessment criteria and standards are clear.

6.2 Designing Student Assessments with an Emphasis on Formative Assessment

Teacher has a well-developed strategy to using formative assessment and has designed particular approaches to be used.

6.3 Designing Student Assessments to Inform Planning

Teacher plans to use assessment results to plan for future instruction for groups of students.

6.4 Using Assessment to Provide Feedback to Students

Teacher’s feedback to students is timely and of consistently high quality.

7. Families and Community – The teacher communicates and collaborates with students, families and all educational stakeholders in an ethical and professional manner to promote student learning.

7.1 Communicating with Families

Teacher communicates with families about students’ progress on a regular basis, respecting cultural norms, and is available as needed to respond to family concerns.

  1. 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.

8.1 Participating in a Professional Community

Relationships with colleagues are characterized by mutual support and cooperation.

8.2 Growing and Developing Professionally

Teacher welcomes feedback from colleagues when made by supervisors or when opportunities arise through professional collaboration.

Elements of a Model Entry

Portfolio entries aligned with evaluative rubric criteria consist of the following elements:

1. Citation of the program standard (one standard from HOPE principles) along with an interpretation of what the standard means.

2. Presentation of evidence with description. The description includes context and related research or theory associated with the creation of the evidence.

3. Justification of how the evidence demonstrates competence, or emerging competence, on the program standard.

4. Summary of what was learned as a result of creating the evidence or having the experience.

5. Comment on the implications for student learning.

6. Propose specific changes or next steps to increase effectiveness in the area under examination.

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