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Section Five: Teacher Candidate Reflection Guidelines

Introduction

In this section, I will develop a reflection on my experience of working on my

Elementary Portfolio Project, educational experience during my program of study with the

Department of Education, and my readiness in becoming a teacher. I will also make connections

to the Teacher Education Accreditation Council and the Council for Accreditation for Educator

Preparation Claims. I will reflect upon the experiences, observations, and lessons I have

acquired. Reflective practice is one of the essential professional habits and characteristics of an

effective teacher. My reflections will demonstrate my overall assessment and experience of this

Portfolio Project and the teacher education program at Medaille.

Portfolio Project/Teacher Education Learning Experiences

As a result of completing the teacher education program at the Department of Education

at Medaille, there have been many learning experiences, observations, and lessons that I feel

were very valuable to my education. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 2: Pedagogy and Best Teaching

Practices) The few specific ones that stand out in my mind include: Buffalo Prep, Global

Concepts, Ellicott Elementary School, ECI 535 Cultural Competencies as an Emancipatory

Pedagogy, EDL 650 Assessment & Evaluation of Literacy, EDU 571 Technology for the

Elementary Education Classroom.

My favorite part of my studies at Medaille College was the opportunity to go out into the

field and observe there. I am more of a hands on learner, and I have learned a lot from the

experiences that I was lucky enough to obtain out in the field. In each classroom that I have been

in to observe, I have always kept a journal. In doing this I was able to reflect back on

experiences. For every observation, I wrote down positive and negative experiences with
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teachers, great lesson ideas, techniques or tools that I liked, goals for myself, and how things I

was witnessing related to things I was learning in my courses. Every observation has been a new

experience where I could learn and start to develop my own methods for teaching. I did this by

not only observing the teachers that I was placed with, but by observing all the other

professionals that students encountered throughout the day. All of my field experiences have

helped me develop as a professional, and become a caring and well-rounded educator.

(TEAC/CAEP Claim 3: Caring educator)

While observing at Buffalo Prep, I noticed that the students were separated by gender.

The female students went into one class, and the male students went into another class. I also

noticed that there were more girls than boys in the program. This observation got me thinking

about why the students would be separated by gender. One reason could be to prepare them for

parochial schools where each school is gender specific.

During my observations at Buffalo Prep, the students learned about science, math,

technology, and social studies. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 1: Subject Matter) One lesson that stood out

to me was a science lesson where students learned about immunity, antigens, lymphocytes,

antibodies, red and white blood cells, handwashing, and different types of diseases. The students

got to do an infection experiment and we were allowed to join in with them. We used test tubes

and pipets for this experiment. We had to share our test tube with three students. Then once we

all shared, we had to write on the board who we shared with. Then the teacher came around with

the detector called phenolphthalein. If this was put in your test tube and your tube turned pink

then you were infected. This gave the students a visual so that they could try to figure out where

the infection came from. I thought that this experiment was such a great idea. I realized during

this observation that students love hands on learning like science experiments. Not only were the
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students excited, but so were we. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 2: Pedagogy and Best Teaching

Practices)

While observing a fifth grade classroom at Global Concepts, I noticed that a point system

was used school wide in every classroom. I noticed that there were prize choices based on the

points that students earned. This Point System was developed to aid in monitoring student

behavior. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 2: Pedagogy and Best Teaching Practices) I also noticed that

students were in uniform. Students were advised to make sure that their shirts were tucked in

otherwise they could lose a point. This stuck out to me because I found having a school wide

point system to be very impressive. The teachers, parents and administration need to be on the

same page for this, and sometimes this can be difficult to do, but Global Concepts did it very

well.

While observing a second grade classroom at Ellicott Elementary, I noticed that the

teacher used a discipline system where the students “flip their clips”. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 2:

Pedagogy and Best Teaching Practices) If a student is doing what they are asked and on task, the

teacher would point out a few students to flip their clip up. If a student was not listening or if the

teacher had to ask the student multiple times to do something then that student would flip their

clip down. Each student had a weekly plan sheet that went home with them in their folder every

day. On this sheet the teacher would bingo dab the sheet with whatever color they were on for

that day. They also worked as groups to earn extra “house” points. The teacher kept track of this

on the board and added up these points at the end of the day. The students competed to have the

most points. I found this to be a wonderful positive behavior support system and plan to use

something like this in my future classroom.


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In my second semester, I took a course called Cultural Competencies as an Emancipatory

Pedagogy. This class taught me an understanding of being culturally responsive in today’s

classroom. It taught me to be open to all possibilities, and understand that every single student is

unique in their own way. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 3: Caring educator) I learned different ways to

include diversity in my lessons and in my classroom environment. In addition to learning

strategies and techniques for culturally responsive teaching, we also earned certifications which

included child abuse awareness and dignity for all students act. Both of these seminars were very

informative. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 2: Pedagogy and Best Teaching Practices)

In my third semester, I took a course called Assessment and Evaluation of Literacy. I

found this course to be very informative. In this course we had to pick an elementary education

student that we would assess the entire length of the course. I found that learning about the

assessments in class and then using them on an actual student to be a great learning experience.

While completing my literacy learning assessments, I learned many different literacy activities

that support struggling readers. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 2: Pedagogy and Best Teaching Practices) I

plan to use these assessment tools and activities in my future classroom.

In my second semester, I took a course called Technology for the Elementary Education

Classroom. I found this course to be an amazing learning experience. In this course I learned

many ways to include technology in the classroom including: how to design a classroom website,

create a QR code, and create an author study using SMART board software. The SMART board

presentation I created was very time consuming, but a wonderful learning experience for me. I

learned so much about the SMART board software and learned many ways that I can incorporate

technology into my future classroom. (TEAC/CAEP Claim 2: Pedagogy and Best Teaching

Practices) The website I created was also a great learning experience, as websites are a great way
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for parents to stay informed and provide an easy way to for parents and teachers to stay

connected.

I found this portfolio project to be very reflective. After putting different artifacts down

on paper, I realized how much I have accomplished in only three semesters at Medaille. It made

me realize how far I have come and how much I have learned to become an influential educator.

Readiness to Become a Teacher

My journey to become a teacher began when I was a little girl. I always wanted to be a

teacher. I would “teach” my friends and sisters in our dining room after school. I have always

had a passion for teaching in my heart but never really followed it until now. The next part of my

journey took place when I volunteered for a youth cheerleading program near my hometown. For

eight years I worked with children ages five to sixteen years old. During that time I realized how

much I loved working with children and knew it was my passion. I started to think about going

back to school for teaching but knew that I would have to start all over if I did. I had already had

a Bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management. Then, in

2017 my husband was notified that he was being deployed overseas for a year. Of course I was

shocked and my first thought was that my world was going to crumble, but it actually was just

the opposite of that. Although the deployment was hard, I decided to look for colleges to go back

to school for teaching. During my research I found this accelerated program at Medaille College.

When I applied and was accepted I could not be happier to start this new path. During his

deployment, I concentrated on my school work and completed ½ of the program while he was

gone.

Medaille College has provided me with a wealth of knowledge that has equipped me
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for my career as a future educator. The teachers I have had throughout these three semesters have

been very influential and I have learned so much from them. The courses I have completed and

the experience I gained from observations has allowed me to learn many valuable lessons,

techniques, tools, and ways to incorporate technology in my future classroom. Medaille has

taught me how to be a caring, prepared, informed, and educated future elementary teacher. For

this I will be forever grateful.

Conclusion

Although I believe I have learned a lot from all of my experiences thus far during my

studies of Early Elementary Education at Medaille College, I know I have so much more to

learn. Thankfully, I still have student teaching ahead of me. I believe that this classroom

experience will further my learning experience and allow me to try different ways of teaching

and learning. In the next section of this portfolio, I will create a screencast video. In this video I

will be doing a mock interview. This interview will showcase my work and make connections to

an interview simulation where I will answer specific questions that may be asked at a job

interview. I will make connections to my portfolio artifacts, standards, teacher skills, strategies,

and professional dispositions.

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