Throughout my experience at the William & Mary School of Education, I have developed invaluable skills as an educator. My student teaching internship at Hornsby Middle School and graduate classes at the School of Education have provided me with the experience and skills to become a content expert, a reflective practitioner, an effective collaborator, and an educational leader as I enter the world of education.

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A content expert is both committed to teaching content knowledge and fostering intellectualism among their students. They have the ability to organize and transfer knowledge to their students, and do so in an engaging, educational manner. This past spring, I taught my seventh grade students the history of the United States from the Great Depression to the Cold War. I used multiple means to teach the historical content of this time period, but challenged students to examine the larger themes and ideas of American history. Students engaged in intellectually stimulating lessons such as debate, Socratic seminar, and primary source analysis. These lessons encouraged students to think critically about history and how it affects our world today.

During my student teaching internship, at the end of each day, I reflected on my lessons. I reflected on what went well, and why it went well. I reflected on what could be improved, and how it could be improved. I used student work and input to revise my classroom instruction or activities to best suit my students' needs and interests. I adapted my lessons for each of my four classes, and challenged students to make connections beyond the classroom to their own lives. This past spring, students explored and made their own parallels throughout American history. Students compared the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and paralleled McCarthyism and the House Committee on Un-American Activities to the controversial Patriot Act. As a reflective practitioner, I engage in reflection toward my teaching, but challenge my students to intellectually reflect on their learning as well.

Like reflection, collaboration is an essential part of education. Teachers are effective collaborators - with each other, with their students and families, and with their community. As an effective collaborative, I understand and support the interactive process of learning and teaching. Throughout my student teaching internship, I collaborated with teachers to develop engaging lesson plans, challenging activities, and valid and reliable assessments. I collaborated with my students and their families to create a community of learning to ensure their academic and personal development in my classroom. Good teaching revolves around open and active collaboration among teachers, students, and families.

A teacher is not simply an instructor, but an educational leader. They lead their students to success beyond the classroom, and serve as a constant role model and mentor. As a teacher, I understand that the call to leadership extends beyond school walls. During my student teaching internship, my involvement at Hornsby Middle School did not cease once I stepped outside my classroom. I became a part of the school, attending my students' basketball and softball games, and participating in after school programs and pep rallies. Teachers must lead their students to success, but must also strive for utmost dedication and success among themselves.

This past year, I began my career as a teacher. My student teaching internship and graduate classroom provided me with the collaborative, reflective, content, and leadership skills necessary for a successful career in education. Throughout this year of preparation for teaching, however, I realized that I will never stop, and should never stop, learning. Each day of teaching offers a new opportunity to enhance my knowledge of content material, my ability to reflect on a lesson or collaborate with others, and the skills to lead others to educational success. As a teacher, I will embrace each of these many different opportunities.