Most of my students seem desperate to blend in, to look right, not to make a spectacle of themselves. (Do I have to tell you that those two students having the argument under the portico turned out to be acting in a role-playing game?) The specter of the uncool creates a subtle tyranny. It's apparently an easy standard to subscribe to, this Letterman-like, Tarantinolike cool, but once committed to it, you discover that matters are rather different. You're inhibited, except on ordained occasions, from showing emotion, stifled from trying to achieve anything original. You're made to feel that even the slightest departure from the reigning code will get you genially ostracized. This is a culture tensely committed to a laid-back norm.
1. Have expert knowledge of the disciplines they will teach and can use various strategies, including media and technology, for creating learning experiences that make the subject matter accessible and meaningful to all students.
2. Understand how children and adolescents learn and develop in a variety of school, family and community contexts, and can provide learning opportunities that support their students’ intellectual, social, and personal development.
3. Understand the practice of culturally responsive teaching. They understand that children bring varied talents, strengths, and perspectives to learning ; have skills for learning about the diverse students they teach; and use knowledge of students and their lives to design and carry out instruction that builds on students’ individual and cultural strengths.
4. Plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, families, communities, and curriculum goals and standards; and taking into account issues of class, gender, race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, age, and special needs in designing instruction.
5. Understand critical thinking and problem solving, and create learning experiences that promote the development of students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills and dispositions.
6. Understand principles of democracy and plan and carry out instruction that promotes democratic values and communication in the classroom.
7. Understand and use multiple forms of assessment to promote the intellectual, social, and physical development of learners and to inform instruction.
8. Create a community in the classroom that is nurturing, caring, safe, and conducive to learning.
9. Are reflective practitioners who continually inquire into the nature of teaching and learning, reflect on their own learning and professional practice, evaluate the effects of their choices and actions on others, and seek out opportunities to grow professionally.
10. Build relationships with school colleagues, families, and agencies in the community to support students’ learning and well-being, and work to foster an appreciation of diversity among students and colleagues.
11. Possess the literacy skills associated with an educated person; can speak and write English fluently and communicate clearly.
12. Develop dispositions expected of professional educators. These include belief in the potential of schools to promote social justice; passion for teaching; and commitment to ensuring equal learning opportunities for every student, critical reflection, inquiry, critical thinking, and life-long learning, the ethical and enculturating responsibilities of educators, and serving as agents of change and stewards of best practice.