A New Paradigm of Professionalism: Nurturing the Passion and the Possibilities
For many years our profession has recognized the need for "standards” that every educator could embrace in guiding their practice and mastering the art of teaching. Today’s teachers must be able to face new challenges in a society that is always changing. Building their practice upon a solid foundation is the first priority in setting professional goals.
The New Teacher Center at the University of Santa Cruz in California answered this call in 2004 and has adapted and published the Professional Teaching Standards (corresponding to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession, 1997). Presented in the form of six narratives, they detail explicitly and interwovenly how we can unify ourselves from pre-K to 12, in any content area or any classroom throughout the United States.
The Professional Teaching Standards (PTS) are the framework of our instructional design, and enhance student learning via the following six standards:
- engaging and supporting all students;
- creating and maintaining effective environments;
- understanding and organizing subject matter;
- planning instruction and designing learning experiences;
- assessing learning;
- developing as a professional educator.
As full-time Mentors of the New York City Department of Education, we became eyewitnesses to the power of PTS in action in our daily practice. We also became well-prepared to recognize one or more of these standards being implemented simultaneously, particularly in first-year teacher classrooms.
Visualization of the standards stirred a passion within us to share this natural extension of our professional growth and development. In a pictorial sense, we sought to capture the essence of teaching and learning in patterns of our daily mentoring interactions. We did, indeed, become photographers for all kinds of best practices in and out of the classroom. To see the results of our work, Focus: An Eyewitness View of the Professional Teaching Standards, click here.
As you experience the Professional Teaching Standards through our critical lens, we are confident that you will feel inspired to reflect on your professional goals, as you move along the continuum of advancing responsibility, collaboration, and leadership in our school communities.
This is a time of accountability and competency in our profession. Integration of the Professional Teaching Standards provides us with a guide to promote student achievement, institutional change, and progress in our own professional development.
We look forward to sharing our thoughts and ideas related to real world classroom experiences and hope you’ll find them informative and inspiring.
All the best in getting off to a good start,
Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion about this article? E-mail Sharon.