Artifact 3:  TE 807 Synthesis Paper:  What Constitutes Good Teaching?

Standards: 1, 3, 4, 5
Goals: 1, 2

What Constitutes Good Teaching?

     This paper was my synthesis of what I learned in TE 807, Professional Development and Inquiry.  In it, I reflect on why I wanted to become a teacher in spite of all the challenges, and how I came to realize the importance of a positive relationship between teacher and students. 

     I wanted to include this artifact to show that teaching is most definitely a learning profession. This particular class, and many others, helped me learn how to create a caring, engaging, and interactive social studies classroom for the students I had during my internship year. Throughout the course, I learned how to establish positive relationships with students, and bridge the perceived gap between theory and practice in my teaching via discussions of our student-teaching placements and assignments/activities designed to help interns think critically about the assumptions, purposes, standards, and consequences of effective social studies education. 

     Though I’m proud of the improvements I made during my internship year, and I did become very close to my students, there were no miracles like in Freedom Writers, nor were there any sudden brilliant epiphanies reached. However, the overall classroom atmosphere improved substantially by the end of my internship year, and it turned into a valuable learning experience for me. I began that year with shock, dread, annoyance, and a defeated attitude. However, because I decided to change my strategies and truly put my students first, I ended the year with a positive outlook, a larger repertoire of great pedagogical techniques, and, most importantly, a newfound love for teaching. I now enjoy trying new tactics, employing new technologies, and consistently improving myself as an educator in an urban school. As abysmal as my internship year started, it ended up becoming the beginning of my path to become a better and more diverse teacher.