Professional Platform

Rachel Papen

Personal Beliefs

If you were to peer into my 6th grade science classroom during our Forces and Motion unit, you would see pairs of students aggressively working out how to redesign their gutter cars after it crashes. You might be surprised to see students, who may have been described by past teachers as unmotivated, actively participating in a lively discussion with their partners. You may smile as you listen to the pair in the corner of the room discussing about how to best build a bumper to minimize the crash impact on their car.

1. I believe that all students can learn.

2. I believe that each student brings an unique set of skills and interests that enrich a classroom community.

3. I believe that through employing elements of teaching with love and logic, I can help all students reach their fullest potential.

4. I believe that effort is more important than achievement.

Mission & Values of Schooling

Every child deserves to experience a safe learning environment. Students are the top priority in any school and the sole reason for schools.

Real world relevance is the core curriculum thread that unifies all content instruction. Learning coincides with the development of meaningful life skills. Classrooms empower children to not only learn but to live and think critically. Teaching and learning occur through hands-on, minds-on, inquiry based content and curriculum.

Students develop into critically literate citizens.

Educational Leadership

The educational system in America is desperate need of strong leaders. There are excellent teachers across the the country that are floundering underneath oppressive leaders. Too many educational leaders have little to no experience in the classroom.

My classroom experience coupled with my skills, knowledge, and values would enable me to be an effective educational leader. I am courageous yet humble. I am organized and innovative. I am an effective listener, and resourceful. I would use all these skills to support my staff in their professional endeavors and to lead my school to success.

Educational Leaders in Schools

Teachers need support, emotional, physical, and intellectual support. As a leader, I would strive to be a facilitator and cheerleader to and for my staff.

The ideal educational leader:

1. Practices kindness daily

2. Develops meaningful relationships that are rooted in trust

3. Is available for debate, dialogue, and discussions

4. Engages life; makes common sense and decency their mantras

Professional Growth

Professional growth can only be achieved through having a vision, mission, values and goals. Sallis, in Total Quality Management (2002), outlines a strategic planning process that can be employed to bring visions into action. One large area in need of improvement in schools are the issues encompassed under the umbrella of staff development, evaluation, and observations.

Staff development, evaluation and observations need to change to support teachers and focus more on student achievement. The definition of student achievement needs to broaden to encompass more than results on a standardized test. Achievement needs to include social/emotional well-being, resiliency, and grit. A standardized test is a flash-in-the- pan, single data point that is static in time. However, perseverance, attentiveness, and self advocacy skills will endure throughout a child's life.

Education needs to focus on training teachers who can then foster the development of these attributes. Carol Dweck is a leading author and advocate on this topic. She outlines how we can change the prevailing paradigm and shift towards a growth mindset. If administration, teachers, and students all see the worth of a growth mindset and if teachers and administration explicitly support and enact elements to foster its development, then student achievement will follow.

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