Discussion of the NBPTS Core Propositions

I plan to use this page to discuss the Core Propositions in depth. I want to discuss how I have worked towards those Propositions and how I plan to differently approach them.

Proposition #1
Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
This proposition is about teachers being dedicated to making knowledge accessible to all students. By using multiple intelligences, multimodal learning, active learning, brain compatible strategies, and various assessment tools, teachers are able to help every child learn to the best of his or her ability. Cerro Gordo is and can be a good environment for this propositions because it is a small school; teachers can distinguish between students and understand the individual differences and situations that make them unique.
Proposition #2
Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
Learning multiple theories and strategies has been helpful for my Com/Lit 1/3 classes because I can work with them and alter them to fit the students' needs. The experience has been enjoyable because I have been able to use strategies I never would have guessed would work. The jigsaw and various alterations of the activity are wonderful for quickly reviewing and spreading concepts over the entire class. Students were much more engaged than I ever expected them to be. Using models of instruction other than or to supplement direct instruction has been beneficial for me as well as for the students.
Proposition #3
Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
It is important to make the most of the time in class. This is sometimes difficult because of the human attention span. Teachers have to keep the students' attention while passing along knowledge. One way to do this is to break the lessons up into manageable "chunks" of activities that last the whole hour. It is better to run out of time on students who are engaged than to have students sitting around for five or ten minutes. This is something I still work with. There is also the issue of in class work. Many students refuse to work in class on homework, so time given for that purpose is wasted. Giving just inclass work does not always show what the student can do in a more personal, intellectually stimulating environment. It is important for teachers to be aware of ineffective practices. Sometimes the ease of the scantron machine lures me into the temptation of creating an easy-to-grade multiple choice test when an essay assessment would be more beneficial. I have to ignore that temptation or use the scantron test for basic objective questions to merely supplement the essay portion.
Proposition #4
Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
Teachers are models. No matter what opinions we have about our personal time being our own or our private lives being irrelevant to our lives as teachers, we are teachers no matter where we are. As a principal told me, "wherever you are is a school function." Now, I do not believe this means teachers should restrict their normal activities, but it is food for thought. A startling statistic from the NCTE stated that most teachers only read one book a year for enjoyment. This is no way to model recreational reading, one of the most important factors to academic and lifelong success. Although teachers have very little time to themselves, if a teacher is seen with a paperback for down time (as if such a thing might occur), that teacher is modeling the importance of reading. Likewise, if a teacher continues his or her education and mentions the challenges and benefits of the journey, the teacher is modeling the importance of education and lifelong learning. Even more impactful would be the appropriate mention of lifelong learning for hobbies or stereotypically non-academic interests. This would help model that every interest and hobby is knowledge and is important. Teachers do not just draw on the subject matter to teach. If that were true, we could send all students home with a book and they would all excel. Instead, teachers rely on strategies, theories, personality, life experiences, anecdotes, and other ways to make the information authentic for the students. If the students do not see ways to associate the knowledge into their own lives, they will not remember it, and they will not apply it. It is my job as a teacher to remember that I model choices even when I am not trying to; it is my job to use whatever avenues available to me to give my students every opportunity to learn and grow as citizens of the world.
Proposition #5

Teachers are members of learning communities.
I never used to see the importance of this proposition, but now I feel it is one of the most important. Whether the community is that of the teacher and students, the parents and students, the parents and teacher, or the teacher and colleagues, learning communities are integral to the stability of the academic environment. By keeping in more contact this year than ever before in my teaching career, I have had a much more positive experience with parents of excelling and faltering students. By keeping my colleagues updated on my own achievements and setbacks, I have felt the backbone of support within the school. By expressly discussing the rules, procedures, and expectations, I have had a mostly positive experience with the students because they are knowledgeable about their jobs in my classroom. Reminding myself that my classroom is not the world, that the school is not the world, that even the community is not the world has been beneficial. I want to tie those different communities together in a web of understanding. By teaching at the community college, being involved in the Temple, and tutoring at the college level, I have been able to link into varied communities for support, anecdotes, and advice.