Developing as a Professional Educator

I have been in education as a teacher or counselor for the past 22 years.  I have always known that one of my strengths is connecting with my students and creating and effective environment in my classroom.  Going through this process has affirmed that not only is this one of my strengths, it is also my favorite part about being an educator.  As a teacher with Come Back Kids, I have the opportunity to meet with my students individually and really get to develop a relationship with them and sometimes with their family and friends as well.  This relationship stregthens my ability to do my job as a teacher.  They trust me and feel safe to to take chances and succeed as well as fail with me.  I have seen myself grow in the areas of Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning and Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments because these are areas I love and that come easy to me.

"Brandy inspires her students by just being her authentic self.  She is a natural role model to all who are lucky enough to know her.  She demonstrates what an amazing teacher she is to her students by how she parents her own kids, how wonderful she treats her friends, and how she shares heartwarming stories about her husband and family (Oh, and yea she is an excellent instructor of curriculum). Basically, Brandy is the definition of what a TEACHER should be."~Julie Drogo, Reflective Coach

An area that I see as my opportunity for continuous improvement is Assessing Students for Learning.  I know this is a very important area but I have never liked testing or looking at data.  I have always assessed students for learning but I don't like the standarized assessments that we have to use so often and I don't feel that they are accurate messurements for the students that I work with.  I will continue to work on assessing students and using that data to drive my lessons.  I will always be looking for alternative assessments that I feel are accurate for my students.

A professional goal I have for myself is to learn AERIES Gradebook.  I feel like an old dog trying to learn a new trick when it comes to this.  For some reason I just have a mental block and can't get past it.  This is a need for me because my students and their parents (if student is a minor) will have access to this and I need to have their grades in there and up to date if they look.  Part of my problem with learning it is that I know very few students or parents will look at it and I feel like my current system works great.  Regardless, this is something that my school has adopted and wants to use so I need to learn it.  I will ask my fellow teachers that are using it to help me figure it out.  I will also play around with it over the summer and get comfortable with it.  I will know that I have attained this goal when I am using AERIES Gradebook regularly.

To remain a connected educator throughout my career, it is important to volunteer to be on committees, to attend conferences and to be willing to mentor new teachers.  All of these things help to keep us connected and learning. 

It is important to connect with people at work.  Laugh together and enjoy eachother.  I am so fortunate to love the teacher I work with as well as the students.  We laugh all of the time and try to get our students involved too.  It can't be all work and no play.  Also, leaving work at the end of the day and truly taking a break is important.  That goes for weekends, holidays, summer, etc...  We have to get real breaks that allow is to recharge, otherwise we will burn out.

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11 Habits of Effective Teachers

My advice for new teachers would be to enjoy your students.  Get to know them and let them know you.  If your students know you enjoy them and that you have a relationship with them, then the possibilities are endless as far as what you can accomplish in the school year.