Prior to my admittance in the MAT program at Seattle Pacific University, my teaching style for preschool was more of an on-the-fly, plan things to do with backup projects and sometimes improvise with projects in the middle of the day. Every day I was learning new ways to teach, but my methods of evaluating my own teaching were skimpy at best, nonexistent at worst, despite my desire to help my students grow and learn. Through EDU 6918, Introduction to Teaching, I feel that I am learning to develop a better system for reflection and self-evaluation, especially with regards to my own effectiveness. HOPE principle E1 states that teacher candidates should exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice. This means the candidate is regularly evaluating her effects as a teacher by accepting feedback and using that feedback (from herself, students, colleagues, supervisors, and parents) to reflect on her practices. She should then develop reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practices through these evaluations. In this class, one of the most important lessons for me in terms of E1 was Module 6, on assessments of teacher knowledge, skill, and dispositions. In this module, we took a disposition self-assessment, in which I read through the rubrics describing various levels of teaching in several areas of importance, then assessed my own competence in these areas. As an example, I have included my assessment for the rubric on demonstrating flexibility and responsiveness. A distinguished teacher, which is my ultimate goal through the MAT program, would persist in seeking effective approaches for students who need help by using an extensive repertoire of strategies and soliciting additional resources from the school. However, in my self-assessment I determined that my own resources and strategies are somewhat limited for when I tutor, especially in the older grades.
Having taken this self-assessment and the other reflections for Module 6, I believe I have a better understanding of what I need to work towards through the remainder of my program. Developing my abilities for self-assessment, and using results to further my own learning is one goal I have created for myself from this experience. By using the feedback from my own assessment, and also the feedback from our instructors for the course, I can form plans in each area for improvement in my teaching style and skill. What may be most important for me to improve, however, is collaborating with others on my abilities as a teacher. Using valuable feedback from peers and supervisors will help to bring me to a place where I can both accept criticism and use it to help my students, and also seek out that criticism with the intention of making my classroom a more positive place for learning.