This was a week where I had to wear many different hats. As the new Junior High Drama teacher, my first production is coming up at the end of May. This is a full 90-minute production with costumes, props, lighting and a set. I am constantly learning new skills to keep up with the demands of this class. On Saturday, we had our set construction and I had to do so much work leading up to this point. I learned how to sketch the set that I wanted with the knowledge of the materials that we have at hand. I then learned the correct paint, tools, and materials that we would need. This was all done through collaborating with other teachers, research, and trial and error. On Saturday, an entire team of parents showed up to work and looked for me for direction. Thankfully, I had arranged for a parent who had done set construction to show me the ropes so that I could do it on my own for the next production. I quickly learned how to use the power tools, even though I would still say that I need a lot of practice. All in all, the set looks amazing and it only took 4 hours of work because of the incredible effort put forth by the parents and students. Through this experience I have learned that teachers always need to think on their feet and be ready to accept help at any moment.
I believe that families and surrounding communities should not just know what it happening in their child’s classroom, but should also be involved in the learning process. An example of this can be seen in how I have set up my Junior High Drama class. I was given the opportunity to teach this notoriously difficult class in the middle of the year when the previous teacher dropped out. The reason that this class provides a challenge is because the end result needs to be a complete production with costumes, a set, and 20 energized junior high students with memorized lines. I first set off to involve families by keeping open communication through emails to update parents of the students progress. An example of this communication can be seen in this first introductory Email where I explain expectations for the semester. On the top of the page is a response from Parent A that shows her excitement to my approach.
To maximize class time for rehearsal, I sent students home each week with Line Memorization Contracts. Each contract had the number of lines that students needed to rehearse for their parents as well as a note from me for the families (the example is the last contract that families signed to show that all lines were completely memorized). Through these contracts, parents were able to be a part of the learning process as students rehearsed their memorized lines each week. Since this production is done on a budget, I also asked parents to come alongside me and help with costumes, props, and set construction. Everyone seemed genuinely excited to help and be a part of their child’s learning. The focus of this class is not to have a perfect production, but is instead on student growth and self confidence. I have had so many parents provide feedback on ways that they have seen their child grow throughout this class, which is always rewarding to hear. The plays that I choose are also uplifting and something that the surrounding community looks forward to experiencing and being enriched by. Throughout this experience it is evident that I honor family and community involvement by taking extra time and effort to establish constant communication with families while actively involved them in the learning process.
I display my understanding of my professional responsibilities as a teacher not only in every day actions, but also in the careful planning and preparation that I take for each class period. I have taken extra time to meet with my Principal and mentors to make sure that I fully understand the expectations that my private school has for me as a visual arts teacher. These responsibilities also align with state standards, but the foundation is based on the Christian faith that my school’s mission was founded on. To bring these expectations into my teaching, I created my Classroom Management Plan and based it on what I believe as an educator. The first paragraph on page one shows that my philosophy of management stems from my understanding of the overall professional responsibilities that my private school has given me.
I have based my Classroom Rules on respect and give students high expectations because I believe in them to reach these goals (pg. 2). My Discipline and Consequences also align with my school’s standards by taking the students’ misbehavior and immediately finding a solution of growth (pg. 4). My Conclusion on the final page of my “Classroom Management Plan” does acknowledge that it is based on the professional responsibilities that my school holds me to as a teacher. However, I put a great amount of time and effort into also making sure that these plans also aligned with the overall state standards. I will continue to stay current with state standards and policies to base my classroom planning and instruction on this foundation. Since every teacher brings different perspectives and personalities to the educational field, it is important to make sure that I am combining my unique approach with my professional responsibilities to positively affect student learning.