Friday, April 22, 2011

Essay on Accomplishment

Essay on Accomplishment

What is the nature of this accomplishment?
The first step was to see that all students enrolled in physical education had a school agenda. Students were asked to bring their agenda twice a week, on Friday and on Monday. Each Friday, I, the teacher, would write the date and state the student's weekly progress. Statements in the agendas would include; Pass/failing grades, missing assignments, days of absences, participation in class activity and the unit we are presenting. The students are to take back this information to their parents and share their accomplishments for that week. There is a place for the parent to sign off after reading the agenda and a space to write in their comments if any. Being in a rural setting, I have found this to be a good way of communication tool. In most cases, both parents work full time and telephoning them at work is not a good idea. This makes it really hard for teachers to communicate with the parents. Since the students see their parents at home this would be a good time to address the agenda. This makes the students responsible for taking and bringing back information that is given in their agenda.


Why is this accomplishment significant? My classes are successful because of the structure of each class. One of the tools that make my profession significant and successful is using student agendas. All students here receive the first agenda free and are charged five dollars for second agenda if lost. This agenda is the tool I use to communicate with family. I've tried many ways to communicate with family on the progress of their child. I've discussed this with my colleagues about communicating with parents and this seems to be the best means of communication and thus far has been very worthwhile and has worked very well. The main point is communication with families, this was using the schools agendas to relate and interact with their child's education.

When students come back to school on Monday, they are to return their agenda with the parents signatures and any comments that I may need to address. Consequences follow when an agenda is not signed and /or turned in. Two consecutive agenda's not turned in will result in a phone call to parents. It is very fortunate that I am bilingual. Every day of each year I learn more by conversing with students and my colleagues. Instruction is given in English and Spanish languages. This has given me the confidence to become a better teacher. It has strengthened my knowledge, skills and my teaching practices through my professional growth.

It has been a learning experience for me. It has been a great tool for an interactive, two-way communication, with the emphasis on student learning.

How has what you described had an impact on students learning? School agendas have made a big impact on student learning. Students stay focused on keeping in touch with their progress and parents are aware of their child's education.

On one occasion, one student was signing his own agenda, knowing the student, I felt very suspicious about the signature on his agenda, and I did a follow-up with a phone call to the parent. The parent had no idea that his son was forging his signature. The student was doing poorly in class. The student failed the first grading period.

Now with the parent more aware of the agenda that same student became one of our better students.

What is the nature of this accomplishment?
I would like to acknowledge is my homebound teaching. Students who fall into this category have reasons ranging from physical health to mental stability disabilities. Such placements must be approved by the central administration office. Services range from full to part time status depending on the need of each individual. A part time student may attend school A.M. or P.M. and home bound the other half of the day. I teach the student who is on a full time status. The place of learning takes place in their home most of the time. Student stays on task because of the individual help they are receiving. Academic subject areas are covered according to credits needed for graduation. Assignments are taught in brief because of the time frame and I am responsible for getting the assignments to the appropriate departments. I collect all assignments and discuss with the teachers exactly what is to be accomplished.

The people involved include; student, parents, colleagues, other homebound teachers, counselors and administrators.

Why is this accomplishment significant? Implementation under my supervision is administered individually outside the classroom. I make my home visit and instruct the student of his responsibilities and when the assignment is due. Communication is instructed at the student's level of learning. As I teach in the home bound surrounding, I search for ways on how to inspire students to achieve the best of a situation they chose or were chosen for them. I came to the conclusion that by being honest, fair and respectful of all students maybe this will give the student the ability to achieve under the extremes of the homebound environment. I learned to develop the student's cognitive capacity and their respect for learning by giving immediate positive and constructive feedback. For example, praising the student for correct answers and for wrong answers giving student constructive feedback by giving possible problem-solving choices to assignment problems. Most and equally important, foster the students self-esteem, motivation and apply all teaching strategies in a real world setting. As a homebound teacher I try to capture the interest of the student and make the most effective use of my colleagues knowledge and expertise to become a better instructor to convey their message across to the student. I can recognize the individual difference that distinguishes one student from another and take into account of these differences in my teaching of homebound students. I adjust my practice based on my observations and knowledge of my homebound student, abilities, skills, and knowledge and family circumstances.

Different teaching strategies are incorporated, accordingly, due to the different homebound status. Observing students who feel they are failing takes a different kind of strategy, a strategy of motivation which is hard to teach. I will use and consult with my fellow colleagues on approaches that may have worked for them and I keep in mind that I might have to come face to face with failure at some point in time, but I will never give up on that student.

As a homebound teacher I found it difficult to measure the growth of performance and relate that growth to the classroom teacher and also explain the student's performance to the parents. What I learned as a homebound teacher is to implement instructions individually. I do not make the assignments, teacher's in their respective subject area make the assignments. But I am responsible for modifying assignments and tests, I return the assignments and/or tests to respective teachers.

How has what you described had an impact on students learning? For example, homebound made a major impact on one student, his name is Jonathan. Jonathan was diagnosed with leukemia in his junior year. Homebound gave him the convenience to continue his education. I was his homebound teacher for two years. In those years, instruction was based on his physical needs as well as his mental needs. This, however, was not a simple task. I could not treat Jonathan like any other student. Yes, I was firm when necessary. Every day was a challenge, he would be physically fit to do the assignments and then the next day he would be totally incapable. He was not ready the first day of homebound. Jonathan was very fragile. Understanding his needs at that time was taken into consideration. I had to work with what I knew and that was very little because I had never been in a situation like this before. Instruction could not be rushed, therefore, understanding and time and much instruction gave Jonathan the courage to help him see his limits as student with a disability.

I strongly feel that without homebound instruction Jonathan would have not been able to accomplish his goals. He graduated with his class and now attends a university.
A second example of my accomplishment is a student by the name of Maria T., a full time homebound student with ailments to her legs. She was on home bound for half a year and was an excellent student with passing grades. At second semester no one knew what became of her so she was considered a dropout, another statistic.

I strongly feel that if Maria T. would've stayed in the homebound program, she would have been another success story.

What is the nature of this accomplishment? #3
As Parks and Recreation Director for Isleta Pueblo I carried a great deal of responsibility. One reason I chose this position was to learn about our surrounding community. The population of Isleta Pueblo consists of Native American Indians. I took the challenge in this job to learn about their culture and to be able to understand their way of life. This type of people is part of our school enrollment and our outlying community. As director with an eight thousand dollar budget, forty employees, I was under the direction of the Governor of Isleta.

Responsibilities of being the director were enormous in the sense that every activity planned had to be approved by the governor and his staff. This made my decisions difficult because I made choices first hand then it was overseen by the administration. So in other words my judgments had been tested, in which most were favorable.

Why is this accomplishment significant? Most of the activities for the youth of Isleta were educating each child to achieve success and enhance learning by utilizing community resources. I worked closely with the governor and his staff and was able to grow in this profession. I was able to grow because I was given an opportunity to attend tribal council meetings which included tribal members in the community.

The facility was a five million dollar center which included an Olympic size swimming pool; weight room, full size gymnasium, kitchen, locker rooms, and a jazzercise room. The Pueblo even had their own personal masseuse for community and employees! Men and women saunas and therapeutic whirlpools were available. The facility was only for Isleta tribal members.

How has what you described had an impact on students learning? Dealing with the community on a daily basis was good practice for me because I dealt with individual personalities and differences.

Teaching experiences had come in handy in some situations. I listened to the community, I observed by watching them interact among their peers at meetings. Monitoring and learning was no easy task. I was responsible for three hundred children. I had to oversee small cooperative learning groups. Most of the instruction was done by group leaders. The group leaders were students in college that were home for the summer. As a mentor to the group leaders their main purpose was to commit themselves to the students and instruct learning. Group leaders had to have the knowledge to teach and how to teach physical education activities to the students. It was also my responsibility to see that my group leaders were responsible in managing and monitoring student learning. Students learned to adapt appropriate roles and responsibilities for their own learning and that of their peers. This included teaching students to work independently without constant direct supervision by a teacher. To facilitate student learning, we would place the children in a safe and proper environment. Group leaders worked collaborating with parents informing them of their child's development and progress. Group leaders also communicated regularly with parents informing of their child's accomplishment and successes. Group leaders also disseminated information to parents about programs being offered at the center by making phone calls and sending flyers with students to pass around within their immediate surrounding.

This was a tremendous growing experience. The different forms of organization and being able to grasp and reach out into my experiences had played an important role as a director.

Reflective Summary
What patterns do you see emerging from the accomplishments that you chose to describe and document? A pattern I saw emerging is that I was learning from my experiences by listening to my students from watching them interact with me. Another emerging pattern I experienced was that I had to understand my student's needs and their surrounding environment and recognizing student behaviors in general. Another pattern that I experience is most students whether they had a disability or not, social, cultural, language, religion or gender, it didn't matter, they all wanted a fair share of attention. This pattern showed that certain students in certain groups had the same strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing these types of behaviors help me in grouping for different activities.

In your work outside of the classroom, what was most effective on student learning? Why? What would you do differently if you had the opportunity? Student learning outside of the classroom environment was quite an effective experience. In teaching in the homebound program helped me adjust to some of my teaching style. In this experience I learned to individualize for student learning. I've had the opportunity to teach students with special needs and that all students have different levels of cognitive and motor skills and modified instruction with accommodations needed for student learning. I saw as a teacher I had to decide to altar my plans with individual students to help and enrich learning in daily activities.

What I would do differently is to try to have a better system of a two way communication to follow up on students who are not succeeding. I would seek out more information by collaborating with my colleagues, students family, and community. When working with students, an instant positive feedback from me would be most encouraging for these students who need that type of assurance and incentive.

When you look at your completed set of Description and Analysis and documentation, what does it suggest about your work as a learner, within the profession, and with students families and community in support of student learning? Overall, as a learner, I feel that I am growing along with my students, family and community. I feel that we are all learning together. I was facilitating student learning in always seeking new ways to motivate the students and making learning fun. This can be a difficult task as I learn to encourage students even if for a moment they temporarily fail.

As a professional, I am always seeking new ways and ideas to become an outstanding teacher. I find myself adapting to new strategies and increasing my organizational structure that will best enhance student learning. With constant communication between myself, parents, students, community, colleagues and with the support from the administration would be most beneficial to student learning.

I have grown from these experiences to improve on my teaching skills, find solutions to problems that seem unsolvable. Use creativity to adapt to situations that may or might occur and use problem-solving skills to achieve in student learning. My accomplishments might seem a few but it helped in large doses to remedy my needs to learn more as a teacher and a person.

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