Friday, January 30, 2015

The edTP—What?

As part of the Teacher Education program at Miami, during student teaching, all prospective teachers are required to complete the edTPA. While I personally have not yet completed the edTPA, I have done some research to try and figure out what exactly it’s all about.

Through talking with students who have completed the edTPA and attending different informational talks on campus, in addition to some online research I completed last semester, I’ll share what I know about this rather daunting process.

The “TPA” in edTPA stands for Teacher Performance Assessment and it is used to determine if teachers possess the skills necessary to be a teacher and help all students learn.  

In terms of the requirements, they are different for each assessment area, but there are a few universal elements. Most notably, every teacher candidate needs to complete a portfolio, and in that portfolio, there is a set list of requirements based on assessment area.

One key aspect that is included for all assessment areas, is the video portion. While student teaching, teacher candidates are expected to video tape themselves teaching, and there is a list of guidelines that explain how one should go about this.

For some content areas, this number differs, but in general, the edTPA usually includes 15 rubrics, all of which are on a five point scale. This means that the highest score possible is a 75. The edTPA website lists 42 as a recommended score, which they refer to as the professional performance standard, or PPS.

As previously noted, some content areas have a different PPS because they have either more or less than 15 rubrics.

However, the edTPA website does not list a passing score, because it is up to each state to create their own, as a result of the edTPA taking different state standards into account. Currently, Ohio has not set a passing score.

One main thing I have taken away from talking to students who student taught last semester is that it is key to start the edTPA process early on in student teaching. It is lengthy, so when spread out over a few weeks of student teaching, it makes the process less stressful.

Since I have not yet completed the edTPA, I am still trying to learn about the process, so I am unable to offer any firsthand experience with it, but I hope to share my experiences with the process next fall as I student teach.

If you’re seeking more information about the edTPA, here are a few helpful resources:

Friday, January 23, 2015

New Semester, New Classes

This semester, I am taking 20 credit hours, in addition to completing 30 field hours in a middle school.

Only one of my classes, EDT 428 (Adolescent Language Arts II), is a cohort class, and it is almost like a continuation of my EDT 427 class that I took this fall. Additionally, I am taking one other education class, EDT 423 (Literature and Other Media for Adolescents). Several of my friends in my cohort have already taken this class, so I am looking forward to learning more about the subject.

Beyond these two education courses, I will be taking four English courses, one of which is online.

My online class is ENG 302 (Structure of Modern English), and in this class, I will learn about the linguistic structure that makes up American English. This fall, I added a second minor in Linguistics, so I am especially interested in this class.

I will also be taking ENG 304 (Backgrounds to Composition Theory and Research), which, as the name implies, deals with composition theory. To a non-English major, this class probably doesn’t sound all too exciting, but I have to admit that I cannot wait to see what it’s all about.

Another class I’m taking is ENG 309 (Introduction to Linguistics), which is yet another English class I’m looking forward to. Have I mentioned yet how much I love the English language?

For my sixth course this semester, I will be taking ENG 338 (African American Writing, 1946 – Present). I’m (again) looking forward to this course because I will be reading novels by Alice Walker and Toni Morrison (among others). Both of these authors have been on my “To Read” list forever, and this semester, I will finally read some of their novels.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Field Experiences

Last semester, I completed 75 hours of observation/teaching in a high school, and this coming semester, I am going to complete 30 hours in a middle school, either in 7th or 8th grade.

During my high school field experience, I had the opportunity to teach 11th grade college prep, and I also assisted with a 12th grade acting class.

I’m looking forward to being able to be in a middle school setting, especially since I haven’t had any experience observing in a 7th or 8th grade language arts classroom yet.

I’m not sure which grade I will be placed in, but I am looking forward to the experience either way, as I think it will give me a better idea of what grades I would ideally like to teach.

The high school that I was placed in was very different from the high school I attended, so I’m hoping to be in a middle school that is also different from the one I attended so that I can have a wider range of experience and learn more about how different school districts operate.

This past semester, I also had to apply for student teaching, and I found out this week that I will be student teaching in the fall of 2015, which is very exciting. I’ll find out where and what grade I will be teaching in April, and I cannot wait to see where I will be placed.

Friday, January 9, 2015

On Campus Organizations

On Miami’s campus, there are over 400 student organizations, which is a lot to choose from. Currently, I’m involved in three main organizations: the Miami Student Education Association (MSEA), National Council of Teachers of English – Student Affiliate of Miami (NCTE-SAM), and Global Buddies.

Through MSEA, I am also involved in another organization called the Intergenerational Mentoring Program. Through this program, I am paired with a retired teacher who serves as a mentor and is another source I can turn to when I am having trouble with my field experience, and next year, with student teaching.

MSEA provides a space for Miami students to discuss the current issues surrounding education and ways to overcome them. Furthermore, every year, MSEA has a teacher panel meeting, where students from Miami can have their questions about what it’s like to be a teacher answered by teachers with varying levels of experience. Since I joined MSEA, this has always been my favorite meeting.
Photo of my Global Buddy and I.

For NCTE-SAM, I am currently on the executive board, and I hold the role of Vice President of Operations. What this means, is that I am in charge of taking minutes for each of our meetings, and I document our events.

Before finals week, we had a poetry and potluck night which was our first event outside of meetings, which we hold once a month. We center each of our meetings on a different topic that specifically deals with teaching English, and before winter break, we started a book club so we can read and talk about books that we could potentially teach one day.

Through Global Buddies, I was paired with an international student who was studying at Miami during the fall semester. Over the course of the semester, I would meet with this student and we would eat dinner together, go to on campus events, and sometimes, we would study together.

I learned so much from this student, and I look forward to being involved in this program again this coming semester.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Learning from My Peers

As part of my job, I have the opportunity to interview students with majors that fall under the broader umbrella of the College of Education, Health and Society. Thus far, I’ve interviewed 16 students with majors varying from Early Childhood Education to Athletic Training, and nearly everything in between.
Photo of Ashley Pierce, one of the students I
interviewed this past semester.

Being able to conduct these interviews has been really interesting, because it gives me the opportunity to learn more about my peer’s experiences at Miami.

When I interview students who have already gone through student teaching, they often give me advice for what I’ll face next year, and I make sure to highlight their experiences in the videos I create of the interviews.

Moreover, when I interview students with majors in the Kinesiology & Health Department, for example, I learn about a completely different side of the College of Education, Health and Society that I wouldn’t necessarily have encountered otherwise.

Conducting these interviews has also made me recognize how many incredible individuals are in my classes at Miami. I learn more about my peers in the 5-10 minutes these interviews take, than I ever thought I would, and I think that is what makes the “Student to Student” video series so cool.

I really enjoy listening to what my peers have to say about their experiences at Miami, and I hope that these videos give others a window into what it’s like to be a Miami student.

Over the course of this coming semester, I hope to interview more of my peers with varying majors so I can learn even more about different aspects of the College of Education, Health and Society.

If you’re interested in watching the videos currently posted, here’s the link: