Out With Erin

Exploring the Beauty of YYC and Beyond

The Teacher Quality Standards state the following:
Teachers engage in ongoing professional development to enhance their: understanding of and ability to analyze the context of teaching; ability to make reasoned judgments and decisions; and, pedagogical knowledge and abilities. They recognize their own professional needs and work with others to meet those needs. They share their professional expertise to the benefit of others in their school, communities and profession.

I believe that in being a teacher I have committed to being a life-long learner. I continue to seek out new learning opportunities and ways to improve my classroom knowledge and instruction. In July 2014, I started my master’s program in Design Based Learning at the University of Calgary. Through my school I have been allowed to develop professionally in a number of ways:

1) Technology – I am the head of technology at my school and play an important role to model and help teachers develop skills to feel confident in the classroom teaching with technology. I present at staff meetings and am available to assist teachers. I have presented each year at our system wide Technology PD Day, and have received iPad training through our central office. In 2013, I attended the FETC Conference in Orlando, Florida, where I learned valuable information on using technology in the classroom.

At the FETC Conference.

At the FETC Conference.

2) Character – I am a member of the character committee at my school, and a member of the system wide character committee that has been responsible for developing a Character Framework for our district. Character is a passion of mine and I continue to share ideas with my colleagues. In 2013, I attended We Day with a group of middle school students. In 2012, I attended the Character Education Partnership (CEP) Conference in Washington, Dc. In 2011 and 2012 I received Kagan training for cooperative learning techniques. In 2010 and 2011 I organized a complete “Manners Day,” with Judi the Manners Lady. I continue to work with my students each year to develop meaningful service learning opportunities and ways to show my students that they can make a difference in the world.

3) Language Arts – I am an active member of the International Reading Association, and on the local committee. I participate in meetings where we organize events and workshops for teachers and colleagues to learn new skills to help their students with reading and writing. Our district has also worked alongside Hetty Roessingh, an ELL expert, to develop meaningful lessons to help students with academic vocabulary. In 2008, I was a participant in the Barbara Mariconda workshop on narrative writing.

4) Math – Our district spent a four year AISI cycle on examining math assessments and programs, and developed learning assessments to help our students. The grade four team worked for two years with David DeCoste to create inquiry based math lessons. In addition, in 2010 I attended the Alberta Assessment Consortium Conference. I have currently been trained in the Jump Math program.

5) Spanish – I teach first year Spanish to the grade four students at my school and am always looking for ways to improve my knowledge of the language and provide interactive activities that have the students experimenting with the language. In 2013, I was awarded the Language Teacher Bursary Program, where I traveled to Spain and studied Spanish for 6 weeks. Also in 2013, I completed an online training program for Spanish AIM Instruction.

My Spanish teachers and I outside of the school.

My Spanish teachers and I outside of the school.

In my personal life, I also try to find opportunities to learn more about cultures and other school systems through traveling and volunteering. In 2012, I was chosen to participate in the Teacher Training Program through the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) of Canada. I traveled to Uganda where alongside another Canadian teacher, developed lessons to teach thirty Ugandan educators about how to integrate environmental education into their daily teaching and lessons. We also taught the importance of understanding different learning styles and ways to incorporate new forms of teaching into their classrooms. I currently still volunteer with JGI Canada and am a member of the Educator’s Council. We work together to modify programs and create environmental lessons that link with the curriculum across Canada.

Working with a group 30 Ugandan teacher.

Working with a group of 30 Ugandan teachers.

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