Category Archives: 8. Professional Practice

Reflection: The New Age of Professional Practice

           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. To me, this category represents the importance of utilizing and going beyond the use of typical professional seminars, workshops and conferences by enhancing professional development through the creation of collaborations with other teachers, school administrators, highly qualified mentors and professional partnerships. This greater range of development contributes to our collective goal of setting up our students for optimal success. According to Desimone (2011), over the past decade a more broadbased view of teacher professional development has emerged, treating teacher learning as interactive and social, based in discourse and community practice. In this view, formal or informal learning communities among teachers can act as powerful mechanisms for their growth and development. I really like the idea of collaboration and find that in my internship, working with state agencies involved with transition is an invaluable tool.

            I feel so very lucky to be endorsing special education because the community of teachers that make up our department are a very close team of individuals. I never imagined that teachers would work so closely together, supporting each other through the good, the bad and the in-between. Beyond the amazing support system that has built up around me, I continuously have been afforded opportunities to further my career through professional collaboration. I recently was asked to help facilitate an amazing opportunity for collaboration between my school district’s high school special education teachers, a non-profit called Open Doors for Multicultural Families and many state agencies directly involved in our student’s education and transition. As a group, our goal is to help multicultural families with children with disabilities plan for transitions and help them better understand why interventions are important. This experience is significant in my development as a teacher because it gives me the opportunity to work with numerous multicultural families, an array of special education teachers and state agencies that help support the student population that I am endorsing. I feel so fortunate to even be considered to participate in such a unique professional collaboration and know that the outcome will greatly benefit my student’s learning. At the grade level I am interning in, 18-21 year old special education transition, it is beyond important that we teach our students the importance of what transition means. It is just as important that we also help the families understand what transition looks like so our students will continue to be successful once they leave our program. These professional collaborations afford me that opportunity and equipped me with the knowledge and support that I need to teach my students successfully.

            For the future, I will continue to network and collaborate in ways that will better facilitate learning. I also plan to join the National Association of Special Education Teachers because I believe that they are a wealth of knowledge. They offer trainings and supports in regards to IEPs and transition that I am just now starting to use in my internship. Their website offers ideas on different community based outings which is something I have struggle to plan for my students. These outing need to be educational and relevant to young adult life and it has been difficult to plan field trips that are engaging and appropriate. I was thrilled to find many different examples of community based outings and am looking forward to implementing them into our lessons.

Desimone, L. M (2011). A Primer on Effective Professional   Development. Kaplan Magazine, 92(6), 68-72. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from 2249919_1/courses/EDU6134_10240_201561/Desimone2011. pdf

Webquest Chart of Professional Organizations


ISTE Standard 5: Where can students turn when they are being Cyberbullied??

ISTE Standard 5: Digital Citizenship

Question: When advocating for positive digital citizenship, what safeguards can schools take to help protect their students from cyberbullying?


Technology gives student’s anonymity and with being anonymous comes bravery. The previous ISTE standards have helped me to realize that technology can give shy students a voice; that they become more brave and autonomous when communicating online. This can be such a great feature but at the same time, it can give people the feeling of superiority cyber-bullyingand authority. According to Common Sense Education (2015), ‘students learn that cruelty can escalate quickly online because people are often anonymous and posts spread quickly.’ Cyberbullying has been in the headlines a lot of late. School aged suicides are becoming more and more common. There were 2 suicides related to the school I work at, just last year. It is our job as educators to teach positive digital citizenship and to also make sure that students have somewhere to turn when they need help.

This article if full of great information that can benefit all school districts! It teaches schools how to set up a Google Voice account that allows students to call or text when they feel that they, or someone else, is being [cyber] bullied or is in danger. Hinduja (2015) wrote, ‘we strongly believe that every school should have a system in place that allows students who experience or observe bullying or cyberbullying (or any inappropriate behavior) to report it in as confidential a manner as possible. It seems obvious that we should be using mediums that youth already prefer. In addition, being able to broach the subject without being forced to reveal one’s identity or do it face-to-face may prove valuable in alerting faculty and staff to harmful student experiences, and help promote an informed response to bring positive change.’ Schools are encouraged to hang posters, send out flyers, and use their automated school wide messaging system to make sure students know the Google Voice phone number. It is also important to make sure that students know that they can call anonymously for any reason and at any time, day or night.

Turn down the dial on cyberbullying and online cruelty. Common Sense Education.  (2015).         Retrieved from          cyberbullying- and-online-cruelty-9-10

Hinduja, Sameer. (2015). Setting up a free bullying and cyberbullying reporting system with         Google voice. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from   


Characteristics of an Effective Educator


My thoughts about the characteristics of an effective educator come from my experience of being a paraeducator in a high school special education classroom. I am fortunate enough to work in a classroom with 2 co-teachers. These teachers have very different teaching styles which has given me the opportunity to learn many different ways to be an effective teacher. From these teachers, I have learned unconditional positive regard, patience, how to be creative, and many useful learning modifications. By watching their different approaches to teaching, I have also learned to develop my own style of teaching. Being an effective teacher is more than just showing up to work and teaching lesson plans. An effective teacher is creative, prepared, motivating, encouraging, involved, organized, open-minded, inspired and passionate, among others. My mentor co-teachers each represent all of these characteristics. What makes them so outstanding is that they truly care about their students both inside and outside the classroom. They are not afraid to work long hours and go the extra mile to ensure that their students have the best learning environment possible.