Teaching in Alberta requires meeting the Teaching Quality Standards (TQS) set by the Alberta Government. Throughout my education and in my teaching practicums, I have had many chances to prove I meet these standards, as evidenced by the artefacts below and how they match to each standard. In going through and reflecting on these artefacts and those standards, I’ve noticed that the professional aspects of my journalism career have led to my natural understanding and accomplishing of several of the standards. In presenting myself as a professional at all times and being eager to be better at my crafts, it has been a smooth transition into adapting to the standards of expanding my professional knowledge in life long learning, adhering to legal frameworks and policies, fostering effective relationships, and demonstrating a professional body of knowledge.
One area in the teaching quality standard where I am not as strong as I would like would be in providing an inclusive environment for all types of students, as that is an area I still receive feedback I can improve and I personally wish I was stronger in that area. It is an area that I still eagerly set myself up to try and learn as much as I can about through mentoring and professional development. I also think some of this will come more and more naturally to me from relationship building with my students, as I understand them better the more equipped I will be to differentiate to each student. I have had several instances where I have been able to prove my ability to differentiate and create an inclusive environment, but I still see as building this skill as being paramount to my success as a teacher and I aim to be the best I can be with the mindset that I can always be better.
In talking to my peers, one of the crucial things I learned while forming this portfolio is that no artefact is too small to post. However small or seemingly insignificant, or how outdated it is, every artefact can show how I’ve grown as an instructor and mentor to students. This is paramount to the profession as being able to grow and adapt with how the art of teaching will always change is instrumental to being a teacher, and showing how much I have changed in even these two years is vital to showing how I will continue to change and adapt as a teacher in the years to come once I am a working professional. Please read on below as I address each of the six teaching quality standards and how I meet them with the included artefact as an example of how I did it.
Fostering Effective Relationships
In this lesson, I took an opportunity to teach about how minority groups in the local and provincial governments have a chance to participate. In this lesson, I used Blackfoot language comic books to demonstrate the concept of a minority language, and then expanded it to the concept of a minority people in the province, and why it was so important that these groups had a role in our government. I opened the lesson with a conversation around respect and empathy in the classroom, helping to promote an open and caring environment. The lesson was largely formatted around a large group discussion, with a focus on providing culturally appropriate and meaningful opportunities for the students to engage in their learning to help promote honouring cultural diversity and promoting intercultural understanding.
Engaging in Career-Long Learning
Throughout my degree, I have made sure to spend lots of time trying to better myself as a professional and an educator, and to that effect I have actively sought out professional development sessions such as the one linked below. I have been looking for opportunities to seek, critically review and apply educational research to improve practice. In doing this, I have been working towards building capacity to support student success in as many ways possible. I have attended sessions with topics in behavior, diverse learning needs, minority groups and discerning fake news in today’s culture. This commitment to career-long professional learning and ongoing critical reflection is an essential step to ensuring I meet the Teaching Quality Standards.
Demonstrating a Professional Body of Knowledge
In this lesson I used hula hoops to have students build venn diagrams to sort out slips of paper with different government services written on them, and the students had to place the services under provincial, local or both. This lesson was directly tied into the Alberta Program of Studies, which led me to address the learning outcomes and goals outlined in provincial legislation and programs of study. By clearly establishing that this was essential learning, it helped foster student understanding of the link between the activity and the intended learning outcomes, and by putting them into groups it also helped build student capacity for collaboration. The creative nature of the assignment let me try a new instructional strategies to engage students in meaningful learning activities,
which was based on my specialized knowledge of the subject area.
Establishing Inclusive Learning Environments
This creative writing unit plan was targeted to teach students how to write specifically for their Provincial Achievement Tests, which is a hard concept for some students in Grade 6 to manage. To take a very narrow-minded assessment and make it accessible to a broad range of students, I used appropriate universal and targeted strategies and supports to address students’ strengths, learning challenges and areas for growth, such as letting them write stories about a subject area of their choosing before forcing them to write around a specific prompt. This let me incorporate students’ personal and cultural strengths into my teaching and their learning, as I gave them the opportunity to take their stories and edit them based on the lessons I was teaching them to improve their individual stories. This let them take ownership of their own learning, and whatever strengths or weaknesses they had going into the unit, they exited with the same set of skills as their peers. However, this also an area of growth for me, as in my preliminary studies I approached the concept of inclusive learning too broadly. I have always tackled it with sensitivity, as shown in my Diversity Poster that was made in my first semester, however, that showed a base lack of understanding of what it truly looks like in a classroom, and it is an area I now eagerly seek to better myself in.
Applying Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit
To refer back to this lesson again, the core of the lesson was based around how minoirty groups such as First Nations, Inuit and Metis groups have a voice in the provincial government. In this I had to explain to the students some of the historical, social, economic, and political implications of treaties and agreements with First Nations to foster empathy towards the necessity of having these groups in our government. This gave me a chance to incorporate the programs of study to provide opportunities for all students to develop a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences … supporting the learning experiences of all students by using resources that accurately reflect and demonstrate the strength and diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
Adhering to Legal Frameworks and Policies
Before any of the practicums and teaching, it was required that we receive police checks. This dedication to ensuring my police checks have been updated for each practicum shows that I have a dedication to maintaining an awareness of, and responding in accordance with, requirements authorized under the School Act and other relevant legislation. Furthermore, it also shows that I have an understanding that the professional practice of a teacher is bound by standards of conduct expected of a caring, knowledgeable and reasonable adult entrusted with the custody, care or education of students. These features are paramount to any professional who is dedicating their careers to the services of students and children, as the responsibility of being their instructor and care taker for the majority of the day is a heavy one, and accomplishing things like receiving the police check is paramount to proving that a professional is dedicated to owning that responsibility.