Growing up in a military family, I have lived in quite a few places. We eventually settled in Boise, Idaho where I met my husband. After graduation at Boise State University with my undergraduate degree, my husband and I married and moved to Manchester, England for a couple of years while he was obtaining his post-graduate degree. Meanwhile, I was working in my career as a designer at an exhibit fabrication firm. After living in the UK for a couple of years, we moved to Houston, Texas where I continued my work as a designer. Although we appreciated Houston, we had always wanted to live in the Seattle area and fortunately were able to call this region home in the summer of 2012. We are thrilled to have made the decision to move back near our friends and family in the Northwest. I love to travel and occasionally chaperone on a variety of trips within the United States as well as on international trips with high-school students. These trips and other involvement in public schools has inspired me to change careers.
Interest and Experience in Education
Prior to attending Seattle Pacific University, I had worked as an interpretive exhibit designer for over twelve years, working with war and military museums, zoos, The Smithsonian, universities, children’s museums, and many other organizations. This was a creative and intellectually rewarding career but I’ve always wanted to work in a classroom environment. In my previous career, I found that I excelled most when I prepared and was up in front of clients, directing workshops, and teaching them how to tell their stories. As the years progressed, I found many connections between my current field and the field of education and decided to get more and more involved in public schools.
My active role as a volunteer, working with children in classroom settings, has significantly guided me towards becoming a teacher. My husband has been teaching high school and college throughout his own career. I’ve consistently been involved with his schools over the years, giving presentations on career days, participating in academic field trips (in the local community and internationally), and providing volunteer support for school events.
Spending time in the classroom has also made me aware that this profession has many obstacles that teachers face every day; they must be effective planners while also having the ability to be quick on their feet. I therefore decided to start observing elementary school, middle school, and high school classes prior to making the decision to invest in another degree. I discovered that I loved the experience and working with children. I then decided to gain some more one-on-one experience working temporarily at an after-school program with grades K-5, assisting with homework, recess, and lesson planning.
Lastly, while working and observing in various settings, I noticed that I had no idea how to teach to children with exceptional educational needs. In the 2014/15 school year, I took a new position at a local public middle school working in a life-skills classroom. This experience provided me with a lot of additional experience with helping to make modifications and accommodations for students with 504 plans and IEPs. In the 2015/16 school year, I decided to gain more experience working with children with disabilities in an elementary setting in an ILCi classroom. While I’m not receiving a certification in special education, I feel that as a certified K-8 educator, I need experience working with all students in our diverse communities. These experiences have provided me with teaching skills that I could not easily receive outside of these settings.
I look forward to my new career and all of the possibilities it has to offer. I love working with children of all ages and am very excited to continue down this path!
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. Expectations – The teacher communicates high expectations for student learning.
2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.
6. Assessment – The teacher uses multiple data elements (both formative and summative) to plan, inform and adjust instruction and evaluate student learning.
Teacher plans to use assessment results to plan for future instruction for groups of 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.
8. 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.
Elements of a Model Entry
There are different formats for writing portfolio entries. However, responding to writing prompts 1-6 helps to address desired performance on professional knowledge and skills, along with identifying steps for having a greater impact on K-12 student learning.
Purpose of This Portfolio
A complete bportfolio (blog portfolio), which is assembled across the program, shows knowledge and skills I am acquiring as an emerging teacher. Professional knowledge and skills are summarized in Principles of HOPE, which are program standards aligned with certification requirements authored by the State of Washington (WAC 181-78A-270). While these standards have been updated recently by SPU, the HOPE standards are still implemented on earlier posts.
H – Honor student diversity, development and their right to learn.
H1 – Honor student diversity and development. Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt learner centered curricula that engage students in a variety of culturally responsive, developmentally, and age appropriate strategies.
H2 – Honor student access to content material. Teacher candidates use multiple instructional strategies, including the principles of second language acquisition, to address student academic language ability levels and cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
H3 – Honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning. Teacher candidates implement classroom/school centered instruction, including sheltered instruction that is connected to communities within the classroom and the school, and includes knowledge and skills for working with others.
H4 – Honor family/community involvement in the learning process. Teacher candidates inform, involve, and collaborate with families/neighborhoods, and communities in each student’s educational process, including using information about student cultural identity, achievement and performance.
H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society. Teacher candidates prepare students to be responsible citizens for an environmentally sustainable, globally interconnected, and diverse society.
O – Offer an organized and challenging curriculum.
O1 – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes. Teacher candidates align instruction to the learning standards and outcomes so all students know the learning targets and their progress toward meeting them.
O2 – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area. Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt curricula that are standards driven so students develop understanding and problem-solving expertise in the content area(s) using reading, written and oral communication, and technology.
P – Practice effective teaching: inquiry, planning, instruction & assessment.
P1 – Practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction. Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt standards-based curricula that are personalized to the diverse needs of each student.
P2 – Practice differentiated instruction. Teacher candidates apply principles of differentiated instruction, including theories of language acquisition, stages of language, and academic language development, in the integration of subject matter across the content areas of reading, mathematical, scientific, and aesthetic reasoning.
P3 – Practice standards-based assessment. Teacher candidates use standards-based assessment that is systematically analyzed using multiple formative, summative, and self-assessment strategies to monitor and improve instruction.
P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction. Teacher candidates use technology that is effectively integrated to create technologically proficient learners.
E – Exemplify service to the teaching profession.
E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice. Teacher candidates develop reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practices through regularly evaluating the effects of his/her teaching through feedback and reflection.
E2 – Exemplify collaboration within the school. Teacher candidates participate collaboratively and professionally in school activities and using appropriate and respectful verbal and written communication.
E3 – Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies. Teacher candidates demonstrate knowledge of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and policies.
Elements of a Model Entry
There are different formats for writing portfolio entries. However, responding to writing prompts 1-6 increases the likelihood of writing a quality entry, that attends to current and desired performance on professional knowledge and skills, and impact on K-12 student learning.
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.