Statement of Purpose:
Brian Miller/Social Studies Education

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This portfolio's purpose is to demonstrate my transformation from a student of the social studies to a social studies educator.  However, the distinction between the two should be so fine that it cannot be seen with the naked eye.  All social studies educators should continue to be students of the social studies due to the changing nature of the subject area.  This portfolio demonstrates how I have grown into the role of the social studies educator while maintaining the title of a social studies student.

When constructing my electronic portfolio, I used the following standards to guide the construction.

Teachers are committed to all students and their teaching.

It is very important that teachers demonstrate that they are committed to all students.  If they cannot, they should not be in the teaching profession.  Since teachers do not choose the students they are to have, teachers cannot choose which students to teach.  When planning lessons, teachers really need to think about all their students to try and create a lesson that benefits all.

This standard has been met through reflections and a teaching philosophy.  Furthermore, I used a lot of different teaching resources to help student of all backgrounds.  Examples would be that I would hand out the notes so that the students would not have to worry about copying them down and I used cartoons and maps for the visual learners.  It is important for teachers to think about all their students when planning lessons.

I feel that I am committed to all my students, previous and future.  I have been in the position of having a teacher not committed to learning disabled students, which I was.  When I decided to go into the field of education, I promised myself that I would never treat any of my students the way in which I was treated that year.  All children deserve to receive the best education possible.

Teachers know the subjects and how to teach those subjects to students.

Many higher-learning institutions have transformed their educational systems so that students will leave with their masters' degree.  This is very important, especially in the secondary education programs.  By setting up the program this way, students can major in the subjects they wish to teach.  This will help to ensure that in the future, teachers will know the subjects that they teacher.  The masters' degree can then be focused solely on teaching how to teach the subject to the students.

This standard has been met through lesson designed and taught according to NCSS and SOL standards.  Furthermore, I have conducted research within my academic discipline.  During my undergraduate days, I tried to take as many research-based classes as possible.  I am very interested in learning as much as possible.  When I get a classroom of my own, I want students to feel confident that I know the subject area and that I know how to teach.  I believe that I have accomplished both.

Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.

In the age of standardized tests, it is more important than ever that teacher monitor student learning.  This a skill that can be partially taught, but for the most part it must learned through experience.  I feel that I have learned a lot during my student teaching experience that will help me manage and monitor student learning.

I feel that I have met this standard by having a teaching philosophy, classroom management plans, and analysis of students work.  During my student teaching, I was responsible for managing the class and setting up a grading system for the six weeks.  A part of being a good classroom manager and monitor of student learning is being willing to adjust anything that is not working.  This is especially true for first year teachers.  The more I teach the better I will become at monitoring and managing student learning.

Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.

This standard has been met through writing reflections.  Many of the reflections I have written deal with broad topic.  It is important for teachers to take the time to reflect about their teaching styles.  Teachers cannot be afraid to change something if it is not working.  Everything should be viewed as a possible experience.  If teachers take this view, they will be better teachers.  Part of teaching is being able to take constructive criticisms from colleagues to administrators.  I feel that I am capable of taking constructive criticisms and using them to help me to become a better teacher.

It is important for teachers to look to other teachers and administrators for critiques.  Many times during my student teacher, my cooperative teacher would take me to the side and give me constructive criticism.  When this occurred, I would listen to what he said and then try to make the changes.  I always tried the ideas that he gave me even though some did not work as well.  This is all part of the learning process.

Teachers are members of learning communities.

This standard has been met through memberships in professional organizations, or attendance at professional conferences.  It is important for teachers to continue to learn after leaving the university setting.  This can be accomplished through workshops and joining professional organizations.  Teachers must continually refine their skills as educators.

Teachers should also try to take the time to become active in the surrounding community.  I unfortunately did not have this opportunity during my student teaching experience, but I would like to in the future.  Furthermore, I would also like to be in contact with more parents/guardians.  I had some interactions, but I would like to work on contacting students' guardians more because what occurs at home has a serious impact on what happens in school.

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