Communication and Collaboration

Communication skills and collaboration are very important in the teaching field.  I possess excellent written and verbal communication skills which help me to be an effective teacher and coworker.

I have been an active participant  in PLCs in both my content areas, English language arts and social studies.  It has been a great experience that allows me to practice lesson planning with other teachers, goal-setting, and calibrating our assessments.  We also collect and discuss data on student progress, and identify effective and ineffective practices.  Additionally, I have been a part of all-staff meetings where I was able to work with teachers in other content areas.  I am well-versed in productively collaborating with my peers and working as part of a team.  I love being able to share ideas with others and brainstorm solutions and strategies in a group.  I feel that everyone has strengths they can bring to the team and it is a mutually beneficial practice.  I am a solution-oriented person who utilizes all resources at my disposal.  I problem-solve with my peers before going to administration with questions and concerns.   That being said, I am comfortable communicating with my administration when necessary. I think it is very important for teachers to pursue collaboration rather than isolation which is why communication is essential.  I like to be involved and get to know everyone in the building professionally.

During my student teaching, I created a PowerPoint on one of our school-wide non-curricular day lessons, which administration shared with the whole staff.   I also was able to reach out to teachers in other content areas/departments to implement school-wide practices such as writing CERs (claim, evidence, reasoning paragraphs) to ensure alignment with other classes.  In addition, I make sure that I am enforcing school-wide rules and expectations for the sake of consistency.  Talking to other teachers about shared students helps to better address student needs.  I plan to communicate with my peers about specific individual students to better meet their needs and help them be successful.  When a student has an IEP you want to talk to their case manager (usually the SE teacher) to see what accommodations and supports the student needs.  You also want to talk to the other teachers who share the same student and see what is and is not working in regards to the student– share successes and challenges.This personalized touch will foster greater academic achievement and engagement.  I am very interested in inter-departmental collaboration, for example teaching WWII while another class is reading The Diary of Anne Frank.  I am supportive of school-wide initiatives and expectations and do my part to enforce them.  As a student teacher, I communicated with parents through email, phone calls, letters/postcards home, and meetings in-person.  I will build positive relationships with the families of my students and actively communicate with them.  I want parents to know that together we are a team that want their student to be successful.  In my experience, parents were happy that I reached out and eager to work with me to address any challenges and to celebrate successes.  Research shows that family involvement increases student achievement and reduces dropout rates.  I make it a priority to be respectful to everyone I encounter, staff, parents, and students.  I flourish in positive work environments where everyone is treated with kindness and understanding.

In order for students to learn, they need to be in a positive learning environment that they feel safe taking academic risks in.  I will ensure that there is mutual respect between myself and the students, as well as among the students themselves.  I will not allow students to negatively impact the learning of others.  This is something I take very seriously and address immediately.  I am a strong supporter of inclusion when it is appropriate. In my own classroom, I utilize scaffolding and differentiation to meet the needs of students of all different ability levels.  I think it’s important for all students to work with peers of different ability levels to prepare them for the workplace, inclusion is mutually beneficial.  I also think that when there are SE and ELL students in gen ed classrooms they work harder.  It also allows other students to take on a leadership role when helping others.  Inclusion may not be appropriate for all students because there is no one size fits all in education, but if they can be successful in a gen ed classroom with supports in place and scaffolding and differentiation of content, I think it is a great placement.  This is part of honoring the least restrictive environment and providing educational equity.

My philosophy of student discipline is to work preemptively to correct issues before they happen. In my classroom, I clearly outline all expectations with my students before each activity so that students know how to be successful, rather than guessing what I expect. This communication with students is key to effective classroom management.  I strongly believe in fostering positive relationships with students at the start of the year and throughout the year.  I find that when you have good relationships with your students you have fewer disciplinary problems. However, if or when inappropriate behaviors escalate, I have a consistent system which I like to use with my students. Students are always given warnings before they receive discipline, this honors students ability to correct their mistakes. If a student receives three warnings within a class period, they receive a step, at this point I contact home and involve parents in the problem solving process.  I contact parents before I refer students to the office because often, the problem can be solved with a simple conversation. Parents appreciate hearing from the teacher before they hear from the principal. I contact home three times before I write a referral. Parents are always well aware of their student’s disciplinary issues before they are sent to administration.  I listen to student concerns and thoughts so they know that I value and respect them as individuals and that I do not hold grudges against students for their mistakes.  Each day is a fresh start as part of the growth mindset I aim to instill in my students.   I also make it a priority whenever possible to have private conversations with students rather than calling them out and embarrassing them in front of all their peers.  In summary, I have effective communication skills and will continue to pursue growth in this area.


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