WELCOME TO MISS LEWIS’
This website is a compilation of work to form a Professional Teaching Portfolio. In particular, this website documents my development towards and achievement of the NSW Institute of Teachers Professional Teaching Standards. Each of the 7 Elements has a dedicated page outlining my personal Milestones and Evidence to demonstrate my ongoing professional development. Below I have included a Philosophy of Teaching, however, this is very much a work-in-progress as I continue to refine my teaching beliefs and practices.
*B.Ed (Primary), Sydney University 2006-2009
*In my last year of studies, I specialised in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). I consider this to be a vital part of education, especially considering the multicultural nature of Australia.
*I have been teaching a Sunday School class (K-6) throughout my 4 years of University education, which has helped to refine my teaching skills while I serve the church I attend.
*I have a current First Aid Certificate, and completed a course designed for teachers in mind for this.
*In Term 3, 2009, I volunteered in the St.Vincent de Paul Assisting Refugee Kids (SPARK) after school group. This provided assistance to students of refugee background in Homework and general welfare.
*I taught Scripture in two local primary schools for a year, taking both Yr3 and Yr 6 classes. This provided an opportunity to work within schools and classrooms while teaching students about the Christian faith.
*Sydney University has given me a comprehensive pre-service teacher education, complete with practicum experiences in every year of my study from a range of areas and grades. I have taught within the areas of Campbelltown, Liverpool, Granville and Canturbury.
Philosophy of Teaching
· Education is a vital part of all societies, and has the power to build and develop nations and impact individually on every person. Teaching is therefore an important profession, as it guides and promotes the development of children into successful adults and contributes positively not only to individual’s lives, but also to society as a whole. Education is a means to achieving social justice, and should be free to all children regardless of their ethnicity, sex, disability, socio-economic status or geographical location. All children have a right to be educated to their fullest potential and should be treated equally as well as equitably with regards to their personal circumstances.
· Education is an active process, and students should be encouraged to engage with meaningful learning activities. Knowledge is constructed by learners, particularly through social interaction with others. The classroom should therefore be student-centred, involve students working together in groups and as a class, and the role of the teacher should be a facilitator of the learning.
· Teaching empowers and this is the central reason that we teach. Arming young people with knowledge and skills allows them to develop into socially aware and competent adults who can then contribute positively to society. In particular, teaching provides the opportunities to learn and develop abilities which are integral to everyday life, such as reading and writing, social interaction and decision making. It gives students greater control over their own lives and is a major factor in confident and independent adult lives.
· Teaching is a profession, which requires professional training and qualifications, as well as necessary personality traits needed to cope with its complex and demanding nature. Teachers need to continually review their teaching methods and conventions in order to improve their teaching and hence allow students to learn and develop more effectively in the classroom. If students are seemingly unable to learn, the teacher should assume it is only because the successful pedagogy has not yet been explored to its best potential.
· Teaching is a lifetime of learning, an occupation that will be different each day and needs to be fed with passion and creativity. Teachers should display the skills necessary for effective quality teaching and learning; such as the ability to multi-task, manage time, plan to meet the needs of each individual student, and engage students in a challenging and appropriate curriculum. Teachers should act in a professional manner, with the ability to engage students, develop and maintain professional distance with students and be able to effectively communicate to students in regards to curriculum content.
· Teaching facilitates learning, and requires the creation of positive classroom environments in which students are treated equally and fairly and are valued both as individuals and as a whole class. It is an important role of the teacher to establish learning environments that are safe, caring and promote learning for all students. The classroom should be a place where students are valued and can express their ideas without fear of rejection, and are encouraged to fully participate in classroom activities. Teachers ought to capture the minds of students, making learning an enjoyable experience and school a place they are comfortable and happy to be a part of. Students are creative minds to be understood, who must be encouraged to discover and take responsibility for their own learning. Each student should be catered for and considered in teacher planning, and supports can be used to extend or scaffold lessons to suit the abilities of each student. It is important to use the background knowledge, experiences and passions of the students to enrich lessons and make learning significant and relevant to the students. As a teacher, it is vital to maintain a positive rapport with students and be respectful at all times, even when undertaking disciplinary procedures. The teacher should model expectations of the class.
Why did I choose to become a teacher?
There are three main reasons why I desire to become a quality teacher in NSW schools. Firstly, I am convinced that the provision of a good education positively benefits both individuals and societies as a whole. Education plays an important role in children’s development into adults who successfully contribute to our society, by providing opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills integral to everyday life. I believe teaching has the potential to empower young people to exercise control over their lives, and is a means to achieving social justice by overcoming disadvantaged backgrounds. I recognise that all children have a right to be educated to their fullest potential and should be treated equally and equitably with regards to their personal circumstances. I am passionate about providing this quality education as a classroom teacher.
Secondly, I believe teaching is a rewarding and complex profession. It requires a combination of training qualifications and personal traits to cope with its complex and demanding nature. I have pursued primary school teaching as a career as I believe I have the essential skills for effective quality teaching and learning such as: the ability to be organised, manage time, multi-task, plan lessons to meet the needs of each individual student, be flexible, and engage and motivate students with a challenging and stimulating classroom environment.
Thirdly, I recognise that teaching is a profession which provides high job satisfaction, involves creativity and enthusiasm, and is challenging and rewarding each day. As such, I find it to be a desirable and noble profession into which to enter.
How would I maximise learning for all my students?
Firstly, I believe it is essential as a quality teacher to know your students thoroughly, including their interests, personalities, abilities and other significant information such as: cultural background, learning difficulties, NESB, special needs, and challenging behaviours. By perceptively observing students and continually assessing their progress I can appropriately cater for students’ particular needs in a way which helps them to reach their fullest educational potential.
As a teacher I seek to provide a range of learning activities which aim to engage all students with the content and cater to different abilities and learning styles of students. Designing lessons with in-built assistance to meet student needs is a priority in my teaching, such as both scaffolding and challenging students appropriately to maximise student learning. I also consider the ways which students are grouped within lesson activities to promote participation and achievement of learning outcomes which reflects my personal teaching philosophy of social-constructivism.
How do I plan a Unit of Work?
All teaching must start with consultation of appropriate curriculum documents in order to clearly identify content students are required to learn. I then seek to answer the questions “What do I want the students to achieve?” and “How will I assess if they’ve met this outcome?”, identifying learning goals and possible assessment strategies for the Unit. The needs of students should then be considered to support their learning, with a range of learning activities and teaching strategies used to meet the outcomes. These learning experiences must be ordered sequentially to build upon content knowledge and skills taught throughout the Unit, and be accompanied with engaging resources.
There are two main ways I would assess the effectiveness of the teaching of the Unit. Firstly, incorporated into the Unit should be formal, informal and formative and summative assessment, which provides the teacher with information about each student’s progress and understanding of the content. Secondly, I would make critical reflections and evaluations on my own teaching of lessons and units and use my professional judgement to improve or alter the unit in order to teach it more effectively.
What is my role in a professional team?
Teachers are professional members of the education process. Teachers do not operate in isolation, but are required to work collaboratively with other members of school staff and the wider community in order to provide the best possible education to their students. Teachers have specific responsibilities as facilitators of learning to ensure they are planning meaningful learning experiences and creating positive learning environments within their own classrooms. As professionals, teachers are required to continue developing their skills and knowledge through both individual and collegial professional development.