Through my coursework and my field experiences, I feel that I have become proficient in the domains of William & Mary’s conceptual framework of content expertise, reflective practice, effective collaboration, and educational leader.

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Content Expertise
I have demonstrated my content expertise in both biology and pedagogy in both my coursework and my field experiences. As an undergraduate at William & Mary, I took a broad range and depth of coursework in biology and maintained a GPA of 3.99. During my teacher preparation program, I maintained a 4.0 GPA in my educational course work. In my teacher preparation coursework, I've been consistently asked to apply pedagogy, research, and educational best practices to practical assignments: lesson plans, student behavior plans, assessment activities, and more. These experiences prepared me to put my knowledge into practice in the classroom. During my student teaching, I received high praise from my cooperating teacher and my university supervisor regarding my subject area knowledge. I feel confident in my ability to communicate and share this knowledge with my students with enthusiasm.

Reflective Practice
I constantly seek to improve my teaching practice through self-reflection and feedback. . I actively reflect on my teaching experiences in order to assess what was successful and what aspects of my teaching need improvement. It is important for me to reflect not only on specific learning activities, but also on my abilities to build relationships with students, gain respect in the classroom, motivate and engage students, and collaborate with colleagues. After each lesson, I reflect on how certain activities worked, in terms of both level of student engagement and learning. I also reflect on my general teaching skills and how I could improve the way that I structured a lesson, introduced or facilitated an activity, explained a concept, etc. I also seek feedback from others whenever possible. I had many opportunities to receive feedback both on specific lessons and on general teaching skills during my student teaching experience. After every discussion, I found myself coming away with ideas about how to improve my teaching and feedback about what I am doing well and what I need to work on. These sessions were incredibly valuable and pushed me to grow as an educator. I also sought feedback from students during my teaching with open ended surveys, which I plan to continue because this provided me with valuable information on how to improve my teaching.

Effective Collaboration
In my time preparing to be a teacher, I have collaborated with fellow pre-service teachers, colleagues, and mentors. I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a collaborative setting in my student teaching and worked with a special educator to best meet student needs. I feel that this relationship improved my teaching skills and allowed me to learn from an expert teacher with a different background and perspective than myself. I also worked with other teachers in my placement to develop and implement labs for students using new technology. I was able to see how I could bring my ideas and experiences to the collaborative process and combine it with the practical expertise of veteran teachers to create a better experience for students.

Educational Leadership
I believe that it is important for me to become a teacher leader in my school setting. Teacher leadership to me means taking an active role in the betterment of my school community, my professional practice and the professional practice of other teachers. I have been able to act as a teacher leader and engage in professional growth even in my short time as a student teacher. I observed and provided targeted feedback to my fellow student teachers regarding their teaching skills. In the fall, I attended the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) annual professional development institute to network with other teachers, gain new ideas and keep up to date with the best strategies in science teaching. I also follow and frequently check the biology listserv of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), where teachers around the country share ideas and resources. I have found these experiences to be rewarding and beneficial to my development as a teacher. I plan to continue participating in the larger network of science education and share these opportunities with my colleagues in my school.