Teacher Work Sample: Phase 2 Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

I chose this student as one I would mentor using the teaching techniques. I chose scaffolding techniques of personalizing the curriculum to his specific needs, working to determine what his interests were. After speaking with him, it was apparent he had little confidence in his ability to analyze, make intelligence remarks and confided in me he was intimidated by the far more participative students in the class. It was clear he needed to gain confidence in his ability to learn and speak. The paradox was that he was scoring well on test and quizzes yet rarely said anything and seemed to be bored at times in class.

In coaching this student through a personalized lesson plan, I concentrated on the areas of his strengths in social studies first. He had an innate ability to define abstract ideas well, and could white board them well. I had him walk through ideas on the whiteboard and coached him like a football coach provides a lineman or running back with feedback of when and was to make a cut during a specific play. Soon we had a playbook together on which areas of the class he was getting to be an expert at. I realized through this experience that he didn't feel like he "owned" a part of the class. This finding startled me personally and soon I looked at my students as "owners" of knowledge or experience. This was another way of looking at mastery of a subject. As the troubled student began to "own": the most challenging areas of social studies his confidence soared. We set a goal that he would go to the white board at least three times this semester and lead a discussion of the topics he "owned.," the first time he was incredibly afraid but pushed through it. By the end of the semester he was leading class discussions on the topic.

What this experience showed me that even the most withdrawn student, lacking in confidence, can be quickly transformed if a teacher will seek to be their coach and support their journey towards "owning" knowledge. Second, every student wants to be part of a winning team, and if they are new to the school, it may take a while for other kids to accept them. It is the responsibility of the teacher to be on their team from day one; the teacher must believe the best of these students and hold them to high standards. Third, scaffolding teaching strategies work and when combined with the teaching goals of engraining autonomy, mastery and purpose into a student, it delivers strong results. Fourth, teaching is about leadership that strives not just at directional clarity, but also about leading students over the obstacles they face, even if those obstacles are at times self-imposed through self-doubt.

In conclusion, the curriculum is like a playbook in football and the teacher is the head coach. The accomplishments of a coach are not measured in their own attainments but in how far their players progress in their careers. Consider Vince Lombardi, Jim Harbaugh and the impact they have had and are having on the lives of their players today. Like a great coach, a great teacher uses techniques, skills and a lot of personal effort and focus to bring out the best of what their students have to offer. That is why teaching is so challenging yet so…

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