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Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.

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A teacher has many roles throughout the school day and therefore requires various qualities to be an outstanding educator. Throughout the school day, teachers accommodate the academic, social, and emotional needs of all of their students.  As such, some of the most important qualities are passion, leadership, ability to organize, sense of humor, classroom management and knowledge.  An outstanding teacher uses excellent classroom management techniques to produce a healthy classroom that is safe, resourceful, and productive. An effective teacher engages all students into each lesson so as to encourage the students to feel like they are part of the classroom community. Thus, when a teacher engages all students, they naturally become more active in the learning process. Furthermore, an outstanding teacher has a nearly infallible understanding of the content being presented and teaches a lesson dynamically so as to cater to all students’ diverse learning styles.

 

An outstanding teacher is not only a leader, but also a good listener. Students seek a teacher’s guidance and, as such, it is important that the teacher demonstrates leadership skills while helping students be successful in working together.  An outstanding teacher is a role model to all students and must always handle each situation in an appropriate way so that students can learn from those situations as they apply such life lessons into their own everyday lives.  Lastly, an outstanding teacher has the ability to influence students not only at school but within the community as well.

 

How would you address a wide range of skills in your classroom?

As elementary school teachers, we are given students with a wide range of skills and abilities, and to be effective we must learn how to address the needs of each of these students. Some students will be below level, some at level, and others above level in whatever subject we are teaching, and it is imperative that we identify each child"s strengths and weaknesses so that we can adapt our teaching style and modify our lessons to best serve the unique needs of each student. This can be a difficult feat, especially in large classes. The following examples are some ways that we as teachers can address the various skills and abilities present in the classroom. First, understand that different students learn in different ways: Remember Howard Gardner"s theory of Multiple Intelligences, and do your best to integrate as many different types of strategies to address as many learning methods as possible. For example, some students learn best through hands on activities and manipulation of objects (Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence). These students would benefit from various manipulatives such as counting blocks for addition or letter cards for spelling out words, or the use of centers. Others learn best through visualizing, drawing, or sketching things out (Visual/spatial Intelligence). These students could benefit from educational posters in the classroom, use of graphic organizers, or even being allowed to doodle during lessons, as this can actually help them absorb information being presented more effectively. Still other students work best by working with others (Interpersonal Intelligence). Group activities in which students work together to solve problems, reading groups,  or the Jigsaw method would benefit these types of students. Next, modify assignments based on students skill levels: It seems obvious that a student who is one year below grade level should not expected to be complete an assignment designed for a student who is one year above grade level. Unfortunately, this happens regularly in many classrooms. In order to ensure that all students are receiving assignments that are appropriate for their ability, it is vital that teachers modify and individualize the work given to their students. For example, when giving a multiple choice test, you can reduce the number of answer options for certain students who are easily overwhelmed. When giving a reading assignment, you can use a highlighter to focus the students attention on important pieces of information needed to answer questions. Another option is to design unique assignments based upon student ability. For example, have assignment A for students below level, assignment B for students at level, and assignment C for students above level. Last, design and present high interest activities and assignments: Think about reading a newspaper. Do you read every single article, or do you look for headlines with a topic that is of personal interest to you? How about going to a bookstore. Do you walk in and blindly pick out a book without any idea of what it is about, or do you take your time and read the back of the book to make sure that it is something that interests you? The answer of course is that we want to read things that interest us, and what interests us may not interest someone else. If we as adults should not be expected to read things we find uninteresting or downright boring, why is it we expect our students to read passages or book that are not of interest to them? If we want our students to be enthusiastic about learning, we as teachers must take the time to develop lessons that our students will be excited about and that will hold their attention over a 30-60 minute period. This is important for all students, but especially important for students who are above or below grade level, as they can become more easily frustrated by typical, boring worksheets. By designing activities that they find interesting, they will be more likely to focus and work to their utmost ability.

 

Please explain how your past personal and professional experience make you a quality candidate for the position for which you are applying.

 

Prior to starting the Masters program at ubraintv-jp.com University, I worked in the Public Relations field. Although these experiences were not directly related to teaching children, I learned many universal skills such as prioritizing projects/assignments, employing organizational skills, being diligent with deadlines, being flexible in decision making, and being effective in working both independently and with a team.  In industry, I fondly recall working on projects related to children"s products or services on accounts like Legoland and Funky Monkey Snacks. On these accounts, I had to constantly think of how to pitch these products to the media in a way that would entice parents and their children to visit the store and buy their products. These experiences helped me to improve my creative thinking insofar as how to "spin" topics so that they are appealing to children - something that teachers often try to do when it comes to more so challenging or dry topics.  With the understanding that not every class will necessarily learn the same way or be as interested in a certain topic, a teacher must constantly refine their lesson plans to try to reach a diverse set of learners.  This perspective would come in handy during my transition as a substitute teacher.

As a substitute teacher, teacher and paraprofessional one must always provide educational continuity by implementing established lesson plans. This is a principle that I took very seriously indeed, but I also tried exercising professional judgment while introducing new material or employing diverse teaching strategies designed to effectively address each student’s learning style and ability when appropriate or necessary. I also develop and maintain positive interactions with students, faculty, and administrators, building a rapport and gaining respect and trust to ensure an environment conducive to learning.

On a personal level, I have had outstanding teachers that have inspired me. The ones that stick out in my mind are the ones who truly enjoyed their jobs and went above and beyond for the sake of their students. This is the type of teacher that I strive to be.  People know me as a nurturing, passionate, and patient person, and this is especially true when it comes to working with children. Every job that I"ve ever had that involves children is one I"ve loved. Everything from volunteering in children"s hospitals or after school programs to substitute teaching, I"ve always enjoyed teaching others how to learn in their own individual ways. But most importantly, I want to do my best to be a role model to them. I want to positively impact my students and help them find their true potential.  In conclusion, I am confident that these sentiments informed by my past experiences will serve me well in reaching my professional goal of being an inspirational teacher.

 

 

Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be outstanding when working in student support services.

A student support service provider needs to love children first and foremost and see each child with the potential to do and to be great. Students who need support services often are lacking self-confidence and motivation and often the support staff provides a refuge from home life and even the regular self-contained classroom. He or she must demonstrate patience as it is not uncommon to find students who need emotional or psychological support. The support staff must try to provide another perspective on the students abilities and talents, strengths and areas for growth, that might have otherwise been overlooked. In this way, the support staff has to be an advocate for the student consistently coaching, motivating and inspiring the student and those whom come in contact with this individual. If the support staff can relate to all students and not just those in whom s/he sees, then this can add much value to the school community. The school staff must also deeply and truly care about the students they serve. They can attend sporting events or theatre performances in support of the student when appropriate.

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This individual must work well with others particularly the lead teacher to make sure that the work and skills that are developed outside of the traditional classroom are well aligned and supported with the standard curriculum. The support service provider must be a transparent and clear communicator. If a student is performing well or is struggling than the support staff must communicate this information to the lead teacher and make decisions together when appropriate. The support staff is in an essential member of the school community and as s/he practices love, patience, clear and consistent means of communication and alignment with others, all students will thrive and excel in such a culture.