Being a good educator means not only having know-how to on your subject, but also being able to interest the students, inspire them, create a learning environment that is conducive for learning and personal professional development. The Conceptual Framework summarizes the Professional Educational Program into themes and pathways.
One of the themes is the Professional Excellence and Growth. It serves my personal development as a professional. This theme guides me into striving to learn more about my field of expertise and sharpen my skills. Skills needed to be a successful educator are not only excellent knowledge of my subject matter and being abreast with the new researches and scientific discoveries in my filed. I will also need to have a good knowledge of the pedagogical theory and psychology, so that I can address my students the best way and will be able to understand their difficulties and find right approaches to helping them. Under the theme of the professional excellence I will be looking for new approaches to teaching and instructing, to motivating my students and providing them with the wide variety of opportunities to reflect, to think out of the box, to spur their curiosity and interest. I will also need to pay close attention to the classroom management. It is a fine skill to maintain learning atmosphere in class, while at the same time giving students opportunity to express their individuality and talents in certain areas. I would have to keep on developing leadership qualities in myself, so that I will be a role model for my students, a teacher who helps students not only have a knowledge but will help them develop ways to practically apply the knowledge outside of the classroom. For that purpose, the learning environment should be positive and creative. The students should have an opportunity to work according to their individual abilities and, through the tasks and challenges, reach their full potential. The educator should master an art of both managing the class as a group of students, while at the same time taking in consideration individual student’s character, learning abilities, talents and background. It takes creating teaching strategies and having a vision. It also takes striving for excellence and working on developing professionally.
One of the PEP pathways is Reflection. Reflective practice is integral part of the life of a teacher, who is committed to striving for excellence in his profession, to continual professional growth. Reflection can and should be carried out in various forms, such as discussion, keeping a journal, observation. Being aware of what is going on in the class and what is happening with each student helps finding right ways for the best education practices and techniques. At times, it is difficult to catch what exactly is going on during the learning process; some details may escape the eye. But the responsible educator, who is striving to develop his personal performance skills and to help his students achieve their full potential, does not stop working when the school hours are finished. He will take time after classes to reflect on how the day went, how did the students participated in the learning process, what is the result. Also, was it easy to manage the class and what contributed to the success or the lack thereof. Strategic pedagogical planning takes time and reflection, but then classroom decisions come easier and they achieve more precise goals.
When reflecting, it is helpful to get another teacher’s opinion on certain situation. Another good avenue for reflection is provided through videoing the classroom process and assessing students’ portfolios. Recordings may allow additional way of drawing teacher’s attention to what may have skipped his attention otherwise. Student’s works, especially in the forms of essays, provide good platform for meditation. Even if the essay is of technical nature, the way the student formulated his thought may help the teacher to see what individual and particular issues student faces. Then, through reflection, the teacher can find a way of addressing those issues so that the student can achieve specific learning objective as well as to overcome other related issues.
Realizing that implementing PEP concepts will help me become not mere a teacher, but a leader amongst educators, gives me incentive to utilize not only the theme and a pathway I reflected on in this essay, but others as well. They provide clear guidance in my professional and personal development, which helps me become an effective teacher.