A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. - Henry Adams
Jerry Smith's Digital Teaching Portfolio
 

Standard VI: Collaborates with Colleagues, Parents, and Other Agencies

Introduction

It takes a village to teach a child. This statement captures the spirit of Standard VI. Teachers simply cannot do it alone. It would be impossible to make the secondary educational process authentic and comprehensive without extracurricular activities and help from a great number of bright people who exist outside the confines of the school. Let's not forget how communicating with other teachers is one of the best ways to get a grip on the complex profession that is teaching.

As evidence of mastery, I will present to you the results of parent interaction. Then, I will provide proof that our FBLA chapter is alive and well, providing our students with opportunities to shine. Finally, you will see to what extent I collaborate with my fellow educators in order to make sure my students are getting the best education possible.

The Evidence

Parent Conferences

Standard VI is supposed to address the ways we collaborate to help the students learn. While the following parental exchanges do not deal directly with learning, both students improved in the classroom as a result of the parental support that was established during these meetings.
The following exchanges between a student's mother and I resulted in this student going from a low D average to a B whlle improving his work habits. I would consider this a successful exchange.
The parental conference I had with this student's mother via phone had little effect, probably because the mother was always "too busy" to follow through. This represents the darker side of parental collaboration and it really opened my eyes to how these sorts of things often work.

Letters to Parents

I found out that writing letters to parents solicites the most change. I sent several good and bad letters home this year, and in almost all cases, student behavior changed. Below are two examples: a happy letter and a not-so-happy letter.

FBLA Activities

  • FBLA Nursing Home Community Service Trip (JPG) - The FBLA members decorated the residents' doors with Christmas posters.
  • FBLA Work Training Center Community Service Trip (JPG) - The FBLA members sang Christmas Carols and passed out presents to the attendees of the Work Training Center.
  • Tsunami Relief - Students worked with the local Wal-Mart, holding a bakesale to raise approximately $400 for the Tsunami Relief effort.
  • Dr. Seuss Reading Day - Students visited two local elementary schools on Dr. Seuss Day and read to small children.
  • FBLA State Conference - We took 9 FBLA members to the 2005 State Leadership Conference in Louisville. Our Web Design team took home 4th in the state!

Collaborating with Other Teachers

  • I have had a great deal of mentoring from some fine educators this year. Both Pat Binion and Joe Mayabb observed me numerous times. Here is an example of one such observation.
  • KY Tech Program Assessment Collaboration - The faculty and staff spent no less than 60 hours completing our Program Assessment boxes. Most of my time was spent with Mr. Mayabb, since we share a box for the Office Technology department. All teachers from all departments collaborated for at least 5 hours writing, revising, and compiling documents that the entire school shares. Every staff meeting we had for the entire year included an item devoted to "the box."
  • Summer School - From June 16-22, the Breathitt ATC hosted summer school for middle school students. Teachers from Sebastian Middle School worked with the ATC faculty to organize and run the event. For my part, the students worked togehter to make a commercial for air conditioned shoes (CryoPeds).
  • Business Education Program Marketing Plan - This is a proposed plan I developed to help market the Business Education program at the ATC. To pull off this plan, it will take the help and cooperation of a lot of people.

Guest Speakers

  • Art Institutes Guest Speaker (JPG) - We have been fortunate to have many excellent guest speakers this year. The Art Institutes put on perhaps the best show. Also, we had speakers from ITT Tech, Sullivan University, Morehead State, and Hazard Coummunity College

Reflection

Teaching definitely isn't a job for loners. It amazes me at how many people I have to deal with in order to perform my duties. I have had a fairly pleasant experience dealing with my fellow teachers. None of the problems or concerns I have had while teaching have been unique to me. All I have to do is start explaining a problem and at least one person I work with says, "Yeah. I remember when that happened to me." Thank goodness we all eat lunch together every day.

I'll admit that dealing with parents is a very stressful to me. I'm always afraid I'll say the wrong thing or offend someone. The best thing to do is always preface any criticism with some positive aspect of a child's performance. Even though some students are quite rotten, they all have some positive attributes. From what I've seen, the parents are to blame for most of their children's problems. All parents who are willing to communicate with me care about their children, although I've observed many levels of concern. The parents of my best students are always waiting at the doorstep for open house. At the other end of the spectrum, one of my most troubled student's parents won't even answer the phone when they see the school's number on caller ID. There is a very strong correlation between parental involvement and the educational outcome. When I hear the background that some of my kids come from, I realize how well adjusted they are.

I have had an absolute blast being an FBLA advisor. Getting to be a part of FBLA was a major factor in my decision to become a teacher. My memories of FBLA are some of the best I have from my high school experience. I have tried to make my students' FBLA experience as fun as possible. My FBLA members continue to impress me every day. We took nine people to the state conference to compete, which is a record for the ATC. Next year, I'm sure we'll be sending a few to nationals!

I have made many connections with the local colleges and technical schools this year. I have been very impressed as to how unselfish all of these people are in terms of what they hope to achieve when they come to speak to my classes. Every single representative I have talked to has said they do not care what institution the students attend as long as they receive some sort of training to better themselves. I really enjoy working with these people because they are doing their job for the same reason I am: To help the students be the best they can be.

Next year, I plan on doing a better job at letting parents know just how well their kids are doing. This year, I got too caught up in trying to correct problems. It is so much easier to write a praising letter because you can almost never go too far telling a parent good things! I really wanted to write a class newsletter, too, but I never got around to that either. One of the reasons I got into teaching was to try to change the local attitudes toward education. One of the best ways to do that is to tell about all the things we are trying to teach in our school. Mr. Mayabb and I have had several articles in the paper about the students and the educational opportunities of the ATC. If we keep hitting the community with good things, maybe some will see that all we are trying to do is help students be better than they would have been otherwise.







 
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