Organisation: Department of Education
Job Title: Teacher
Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of initiatives in school learning, including the Principles of Learning and Teaching P-12 and the Assessment and Reporting Advice, and the ability to implement curriculum programs consistent with their intent
The Standards, the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PoLT) P-12 and Assessment and Reporting Advice are the foundation of my planning and teaching implementation. They encourage me to place importance on knowing my students and their learning needs in order to plan effective lesson sequences. Through my teaching practicum placements and recent relief teaching, I have written and implemented effective lesson plans which have catered for each individual student’s needs, while drawing upon the appropriate areas of curriculum and assessment. My demonstrated knowledge and understanding has been demonstrated through;
- Challenging and supporting students to develop deep levels of thinking and application. Through the application of PoLT, together with the e5 Instructional Model, I successfully delivered a series of lessons that were engaging and promoted higher order thinking with a preparatory class at Geelong College. Subsequent to introducing the topic of informal measurement, I engaged students in their learning through reading ‘Measuring Penny” and introduced hands-on exploration. This included providing students with a variety of measuring tools and inviting them to utilise the tools to measure objects around the classroom. Whilst they were doing so, I introduced the students to words relating to numeracy and the activity, including shorter, longer, taller and smaller. This prompted the students to discover the difference between longer and shorter amongst themselves, as well as taller and smaller through the use of a “Penny dog” ruler to measure various objects around the room. During this time, I monitored the students’ progress via observation, provided feedback, and adjusted the tasks to suit the individual needs of some students. After the hands-on activity, I had students work in pairs to discuss the topic, and then engaged them in a whole group discussion. During the discussion, students displayed deep levels of thinking and understanding, with most ready to progress on to a more challenging activity.
- Utilising effective assessment practices ‘For Learning’, ‘As Learning’ and ‘Of Learning’, to inform my teaching and learning practice. Whilst undertaking my practicum placements, as well as during my recent casual relief teaching work, I have used these assessment methods to increase positive student learning outcomes. This has involved monitoring students’ progress through observational assessment to identify specific needs, in addition to implementing one-on-one conferencing to provide feedback and assist with individual learning goals. During my placement at Lara Lake Primary School, I used formative assessment to benchmark students’ knowledge in numeracy. This allowed me to connect with their prior understanding and inform my direction for future lessons. Most recently at St Anthony’s Primary School, I have used the PROBE testing program in order to assess the level of comprehension of students. This provided students with evidenced-based learning and allowed me to make sound judgements regarding their achievement against goals and standards. Through utilising these strategies, I am ensuring that I provide assessments that are fair and flexible, and provide an appropriate level of challenge, while engaging students in meaningful ways.
- Promoting a learning environment that instils independence, interdependence and self-motivation. During a casual relief-teaching placement, I taught a Grade 3 class at Little River Primary School and I worked with a student who was at a level 5 in reading and often relied on other students to read to him. On the first day that I taught his class, I read a level 7 book with him and realised that he was much further behind than his peers. Recognising the potential that this student had, during my one-week contract with the school, I provided him with phonic activities and had him read a level 5 book to me each day during independent reading. Over the course of the week, I found that his confidence and enthusiasm to read increased. This provided him with the motivation and skills to sound out words to assist with his reading. Toward the end of my placement, the student was reading his level 5 books more fluently and by my last day, he did not need me to pre-read the phonics activity to him. My success with this student was evident when he asked me to talk to his teacher to see if she would let him continue to do this activity as he was eager to learn how to read independently.
- Facilitating a learning environment that is supportive and productive. This was demonstrated during my practicum placement at Lara Lake Primary School through making the learning focus for each lesson clearly visible as per the research of John Hattie and his principles of Visible Learning and visible teaching. This involved displaying the learning focus and success criteria on the whiteboard for students to see. The success criteria would be written as an ‘I can’ statement, such as “I can use capital letters and full stops…” This ensured that the students knew what was expected of them and assisted with guiding them toward clear learning goals. Furthermore, it facilitated my ability to benchmark the students’ progress against AusVELS standards and provide further support or extension activities to students.
As a Teacher at SCHOOL NAME, I will continue to create a safe and supportive learning space for all students, while consistently implementing curriculum programs consistent with the intent of the Principles of Learning and Teaching P-12 and the Assessment and Reporting Advice, in order to support positive learning outcomes.
Demonstrated understanding of how students learn and effective classroom teaching strategies, and the capacity to work with colleagues to continually improve teaching and learning
To meet the needs of 21st Century learners, I demonstrate my high-level classroom teaching skills through my focus on the provision of differentiated and personalised learning experiences. Through this practice, I strive to include content that is interesting and that each student can relate to. As a Teacher, I have been successful in the implementation of the e5 approach in order to facilitate substantive conversation and cultivate higher order thinking. This has been demonstrated through;
- Connecting with students and implementing positive behaviour strategies. During my relief teaching placements, I have implemented restorative practices with the aim of building relationships and connections with students. When students present with a behavioural difficulty, instead of immediately reprimanding them, I will ask questions regarding their behaviour, such as “What happened? What were you thinking at the time? Who has been affected by what you have done? What do you think you need to do to make things right?” For those students that have been affected by the behaviour, I pose questions such as “What did you think when you realised what had happened? What impact has this incident had on you and others? What has been the hardest thing for you? What do you think needs to happen to make things right?” Restorative practices promote inclusiveness, relationship building and problem solving, and I have found this to be an effective method in my teaching practice. Furthermore, I consistently ensure that I praise good behaviour. Through the implementation of positive behaviour strategies, I foster an environment in which students take ownership of their own behaviour and strive to behave in a positive manner.
- Reflecting student’s needs, backgrounds, perspectives and interests in the learning program. Through connecting students learning with their interests, I have been successful in engaging students in learning. For example, I have found that students relate well to technology as they are growing up in a multimodal world. As such, during my practicum placement at St Patricks Primary School, I engaged students by using iPads to research the topic of natural disasters. While they were undertaking collaborative research, I asked open-ended questions and prompted whole-class discussion to promote deeper levels of thinking. Using the iPads provided students with a different dimension to the topic and I found that the open-ended research assisted the students to quickly grasp key concepts due to their level of engagement. This student-centred approach to learning ensures that students will remember the content more effectively, assists them with developing critical thinking skills and self-discovery, which is a skill that remains with students throughout their school years and beyond.
- Working with colleagues to develop engaging and cohesive units of work. Whilst undertaking my practicum placement at St Patrick’s Primary School, I worked with colleagues to develop an inquiry unit for the Grade 3-4 class. We worked as a team to develop a common definition of natural disasters to ensure that the description and flow for the unit was the same across all classrooms, thus ensuring consistency of teaching for all students. Furthermore, I was afforded the opportunity to take part in planning days with all of the Grade 3-4 teachers, where we developed curriculum and activities. This was a rewarding learning experience and I observed the effectiveness of collaboration in which all teachers had their input and ideas and the lessons and activities were designed taking these into consideration. The collaboration resulted in improved programs and activities that differentiated the curriculum to suit different learning styles across the whole grade level, as well as provided greater consistency when marking assessment tasks which benefited students’ outcomes and experiences.
- Providing differentiated and personalised learning. Through fostering an environment that accommodates all students’ learning abilities, I can ensure that they progress at their own pace through individualised learning. This was demonstrated in an instance when a Grade 3 student was having difficulty grasping the concept of fractions. Working collaboratively with his mother, I asked her to cut his sandwich into four the following day. This enabled me to sit with the student at lunch where I asked him a variety of questions such as, if he had four sandwiches or one, to show me a quarter, and to eat half of the sandwich. This assisted the student with grasping the concept and I was then able to move on with paper cutting within the classroom to further demonstrate fractions to him.
- Contributing to resource sharing with my colleagues. Whilst undertaking a casual relief teaching position at St Anthony’s Primary School, I have had the opportunity to share resources that I had collected with team teachers to compliment the day’s lesson. This involved sharing a writing exercise with Grade 3 teachers, as well as a numeracy activity for Grade 1 teachers. Through the sharing of concepts and ideas with my colleagues, I foster a sense of comradeship which has contributed to the development of supportive and lasting working relationships.
As a Teacher at SCHOOL NAME, I will continue to demonstrate my knowledge of teaching and styles through incorporating differentiated planning and programming into my lessons in order to consider students’ varying abilities, learning styles, interests and needs to facilitate consistent positive learning outcomes. Furthermore, I will demonstrate my commitment to working with colleagues to continually improve teaching and learning.
Demonstrated capacity to monitor and assess student-learning data and to use this data to inform teaching for improved student learning
Throughout my practicum and relief teaching placements, I have integrated a variety of assessment strategies in order to improve teaching and learning practices. I understand that assessment requires a variety of measures and a single assessment tool is not an accurate reflection of student achievement. Therefore, my assessment practices reflect assessment ‘For Learning’, assessment ‘Of Learning’ and assessment ‘As Learning’. Effective formal and informal assessments are essential to a comprehensive education, as they allow student learning to be continually improved. I have demonstrated my capacity to monitor and assess student learning and use this data to inform my teaching through;
- Promoting self-assessment and peer assessment. At Geelong College, I facilitated student feedback on their own work through personal reflection by having the students assess their own writing. In correlation with AusVELS standards, I placed three samples of writing on the wall and rated them with one star, two stars and three stars. Subsequent to writing their work, students evaluated it against the samples and I then engaged them through group discussion where they spoke about their chosen rating and the reasoning for their choice. This activity increased student responsibility and autonomy, motivated them to strive for a more advanced and deeper understanding of the subject matter, as well as lifted the role and status of each student from passive learner to active learner and assessor. In doing so, students engaged positively in critical reflection and developed a better understanding of their own subjectivity and judgement.
- Implementing a variety of formal and informal assessment strategies. Through observing students’ learning and developing while they undertake activities; I am able to reflect a whole-student approach in my teaching and assessment, thus providing a holistic view of learning and development. For example, whilst undertaking my practicum placement at Geelong College, I constructed Early Years Numeracy and Literacy blocks and lessons informed by the standards to ensure that students were progressing to the next individual growth point. This was demonstrated through my implementation of an alphabet activity were I engaged students in cutting and pasting letters in their correct order to observe who had consolidated knowledge of the alphabet. From there, I was able to identify each student’s abilities and utilised that data to further inform my teaching and provide individualised assistance were necessary.
- Utilising Running Records to inform my teaching and set individual goals for students. Through frequently updating my records of student achievements, I was able to collect and annotate quality data that assisted with Reading Recovery benchmarking whilst at St Anthony’s Primary School. The data that I gathered enabled me to set specific learning goals to facilitate progress, whilst assisting students to recognise the positive aspects of their work along with areas for improvement. As a result, students were encouraged to focus on ways that they could improve when completing each learning task, such as taking home the correct level readers, or challenging themselves with the next level.
- Making use of Prose, Reading Observation, Behaviour and Evaluation (PROBE). During one of my casual relief teaching placements at Little River Primary School, I was afforded the opportunity to put PROBE into practice to test students’ level of comprehension for mid-year reports. This involved assessing reading accuracy, reading behaviour and in-depth reading across six defined areas of reading comprehension, including literal, reorganisation, inference, vocabulary, evaluation and reaction. This was an interesting learning experience for me and I provided the data that I gathered to the students’ teacher to facilitate her report writing.
- Working collaboratively with colleagues to moderate students work. During my practicum placement at Lara Lake Primary School, I was provided with the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers in the moderation of students’ written work. Using this assessment method, I was able to assess the students’ performance consistently, effectively, confidentially and fairly. Through focusing on AusVELS, as well as utilising feedback from my mentor teacher, I successfully identified strengths and areas for growth based on evidence of students’ learning within the Grade 1-2 class.
- Using checklists to collect data on student abilities and learning levels. This has been a tool that I have utilised with preparatory aged students to facilitate my ability to systematically collect data on each student regarding specific behaviours, knowledge and skills. For example, when studying the pencil grip in a class of students and comparing each student’s ability with my checklist, it was evident that I needed to work with them further in this area. Using the checklist, I was able to make sound judgements regarding the students’ abilities relating to the desired outcomes. Utilising this data, I was then able to create individual learning goals for each student and over the course of my placement, worked with them to correct and improve their handwriting.
As a Teacher at SCHOOL NAME, I will continue to use both formative and summative forms of assessment in order to monitor student progress and ensure that different learning styles are catered for. I am confident that these practices will allow for an informed teaching practice and continual growth of my teaching skills.
Demonstrated high-level written and verbal communication skills and high-level interpersonal skills, including a capacity to develop constructive relationships with students, parents and other staff
Throughout previous employment and my university studies I have developed a high-level of broad based communication skills, both written and verbal, in addition to high-level interpersonal skills. Studying at university has provided me with the opportunity to develop rich skills in written and verbal communication to specialised audiences, which has not only increased my potential as a teacher, but also improves the quality of teaching that I produce. I am an influential, confident and persuasive communicator who can easily adjust my presentation and delivery based on knowledge of my audience, as well as monitoring their subtle non-verbal cues. This has resulted in constructive relationships with students, parents and other staff, as evidenced though;
- Taking time to get to know my students on a variety of levels. Whilst undertaking my practicum placements, I observed that a feeling of belonging within the classroom encouraged students to further develop their ideas, skills and knowledge. When students feel a sense of belonging within their environment, they are able to learn effectively, develop their language skills, as well as lifelong learning skills. In order to facilitate this, I ensure that I am always approachable and encourage students to talk to me openly and honestly. This is done my taking the time to listen to the students, whilst encouraging and modelling respect, as well as showing and interest and concern in regards to student wellbeing. Taking the time to develop rapport with students, results in increased confidence and mood, thus meaning that they are more likely to be engaged in class. This proved to be particularly effective with a student diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder who was struggling with times tables. Knowing that he had a real love for football, I engaged him during a lesson with a student who was at an advanced level in a football mathematics game using marbles. During the game, each goal was worth six points and a miss was minus one point. Together the students tallied their goals and misses, and worked out their total scores using the six times tables. Using my knowledge of what would appeal to this student assisted me to engage him in meaningful learning that helped him to understand mathematical concepts.
- Working enthusiastically with colleagues. During my practicum and relief teaching placements, I have demonstrated my ability to communicate effectively with other staff members, particularly within team teaching environments. I pride myself on my ability to adapt quickly to a team environment and assist with planning effective curriculum along with generating lesson plans using my positive and effective communication skills. Maintaining open communication with my colleagues has been of great benefit to me as a new teacher and has enabled me to learn through others experience. Over the past few years I have constantly liaised with other teachers to gain skills and confidence with my classroom teaching. This has involved observing others in their classroom teaching, having them observe me, and ensuring that I ask questions and take on board all feedback regarding my own practice. I have also made myself available to assist other teachers as the need arises and ensure that I am always prepared for staff meetings, including conducting research to find activities to assist with planning meetings and bring ideas forward to others on the team. This has ensured that our time is used effectively and constructively and has fostered a sense of trust with my colleagues.
- Maintaining an open door policy with students and their families. With a strong belief that parents play a vital role in the education of their children, I foster collaborative relationships with parents and carers as a catalyst for improving student-learning outcomes. By making myself open and available to parents, I have been successful in maintaining effective home-school relationships. This has been facilitated through engaging in conversation with parents and families before and after school, including providing positive feedback regarding their child, or discussing any concerns. In this way I am able to work collaboratively with parents and carers in assisting students through any difficulties. Furthermore, I encourage parents and carers to participate in classroom activities, such as assisting with reading or helping in class. Whilst undertaking my practicum placement at St Patricks Primary School, I worked with a parent helper and found this to be a positive and rewarding experience.
- Promoting a positive student voice. Within a classroom, I utilise community circles to build positive communication and facilitate the sharing of a variety of topics. For example, during my time at Geelong College, every Monday morning, I engaged students in circle time and we spoke about what we all did on the weekend. This was an opportunity to get the excitement from the weekend out of the way by listening to each other, which then enabled students to focus on the lessons ahead. Circle time promotes equity, allows all students a chance to speak, and is respected as no student’s thoughts or feelings are ever dismissed or put down. Through my teaching experience to date, I have found this to be a positive and inclusive practice that involves all students and provides them with the opportunity to either lead or follow at their own comfort level.
My experiences highlighted to me that maintaining a positive attitude and communication regarding student’s learning, and remaining open to discuss new ideas with both colleagues and parents is essential to providing an environment in which student learning is encouraged and allowed to thrive. I am committed to open and constructive communication and will continue to utilise my high-level skills in this area as a Teacher at SCHOOL NAME.
Demonstrated commitment and capacity to actively contribute to a broad range of school activities and a capacity to reflect on, evaluate and improve professional knowledge and practice
Demonstrating my strong commitment to the teaching profession, I have actively contributed to a range of school activities throughout my practicum placement and casual relief teaching work. This has included involvement in excursions, sporting events, classroom and extracurricular activities. As a Teacher, I am reflective and evaluate my practice constantly in order to identify ways of improving student learning outcomes, classroom management, and my effectiveness as a teacher. This has been demonstrated through;
- Partaking in a variety of professional development sessions. Throughout my teaching career to date, I have participated in numerous sessions both in and outside of the school. Doing so enables me to adapt and trial ideas and strategies in my classes and evaluate their effectiveness subsequent to delivering lessons and learning activities. For example, the session that I undertook regarding mandatory reporting was very insightful and provided me with a variety of new possibilities of the reasons why students may not be focused in school. This means that I now have greater insight as to how to handle a variety of situations within the classroom, as well as what to look out for. As a result, I have been able to support students at a high level, thus facilitating consistent positive student learning outcomes.
- Observing colleagues and implementing new techniques to improve my teaching. At St Patricks Primary School during my practicum placement, I observed the Educational Support Aid (ESA) interacting with the special needs students in my class. This provided me with the opportunity to observe firsthand the need for sensory breaks for the students. The experience heightened my understanding of the importance for these sensory breaks as the classroom environment can often become overwhelming and put the students at risk of increased stress and anxiety. Furthermore, the ESA showed me some useful iPad applications that supported the needs of the students, which I have since utilised to provide them with sensory breaks, as well as assisting with their learning.
- Contributing to whole school fundraising. In 2014 at St Anthony’s Primary School, I was afforded the privilege of undertaking the role of Fundraising Coordinator. During this time, I developed a record of accomplishment for contributing to the highest fundraising that the school had seen in several years. Through organising shopping day tours, chocolate fundraisers, pie and lamington drives, as well as Bunnings barbeques, I was successful in raising funds to go toward new Astroturf for the school’s oval. Furthermore, this opportunity provided me with the chance to demonstrate my strong coordination and organisation skills, in addition to liaison with the Principal and other members of the school community.
- Assisting with school information sessions. Committed to fostering a learning environment that promotes engagement with students’ parents, carers and families, I have contributed to school-led information sessions. This has involved speaking to prospective preparatory-grade parents at information sessions held at St Anthony’s Primary School in 2013, as well as assisting to organise the Grade 3-4 open night at the school. My involvement included ensuring that all students had artwork to present, assisting them to pick a title for their work, mounting it on a frame and arranging the displays. Furthermore, I organised notes to parents and carers regarding their child’s work.
- Contributing to the organisation of excursions. Whilst undertaking my practicum placement at Geelong College, I had the opportunity to contribute to organising an excursion for the preparatory students around the city of Geelong. In collaboration with the other grade level teachers, I offered suggestions as to what parts of the city to visit, in addition to planning the itinerary with the team, organising busses and sending information home to parents. This experience provided me with a great opportunity to develop rapport with students and staff as well as the whole school and wider community.
- Partaking in constant self-reflection. Reflecting on and evaluating my lessons and continually reviewing my units of planning to make sure that I sufficiently and promptly address areas of learning that need to be improved. During my placement at Geelong College, I filmed myself teaching to allow me to reflect on various aspects of my teaching. This included the need to develop self-awareness regarding instructional aspects of my lessons. Watching the video subsequent to conducting the lesson enabled me to see firsthand my strengths and weaknesses, and to identify my own professional development needs.
- Participating in whole school sporting events. During my casual relief teaching placements at St Anthony’s Primary School, I had the opportunity to participate in the school athletics day in both 2013 and 2014. As well as motivating students and ensuring that they were organised to compete, I measured the results for shot put, discus, hurdle and high jump. Supporting the students at the school in each of their events and celebrating their achievements throughout the day contributed to my pride for working at the school, which was shared amongst students and teachers.
The strong relationships derived from my extracurricular involvement have provided a means for students to interact with me in a less traditional environment, thus paving the way for positive student learning outcomes in the classroom. As a Teacher at SCHOOL NAME, I am committed to consistently contributing to whole school activities and I am eager to continue to learn and refine my teaching practice as my career progresses.