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     Education is the foundation of human interaction. School is where students take in knowledge that will determine what they do with the rest of their lives. Students are offered great opportunities through education. Many times these opportunities are largely affected by how the material is presented to them especially at the secondary level. As an educator one is given the opportunity to facilitate the learning of these students and affect their lives in hopes that they use this information to progress forward into the future. My goal as a teacher is to instill critical reflection as a lifelong skill possessed by future generations of America.
     The world is becoming more complex, information is becoming available and changing more rapidly forcing people to constantly rethink, switch directions, and change problem-solving strategies. Because of this it is important to encourage reflective thinking during learning at the secondary level to help students develop strategies to apply new knowledge to the complex situations in their day-to-day activities. Reflective thinking helps learners develop higher-order thinking skills by helping them think in both abstract and conceptual terms, apply specific strategies and understand their own thinking and learning process.
     Students have a large impact on my appreciation of the art of teaching. Teachers that have stable and healthy relationships with their students are the most successful. Throughout my student teaching experiences I have genuinely strived to be respectful towards all my students and each of their differing learning behaviors. I have found my niche while teaching science to students with special learning needs at the high school level. The challenge of conveying course material to students who require highly engaging lessons is something I wish to accept on a daily basis.
     All students learn at different paces, and respond better to some learning styles rather than others. This does not mean that students should be left behind because an educator prefers certain learning styles to one another. A good teacher attempts to cover all types of learning styles in order to reach out to all types of learners. One can do this by incorporating technology into classroom learning on a daily basis. Smartboards, Internet blogs, Wiki(s), and teacher websites are all very valuable technological resources for addressing the unique learning skills of students with special needs.
     My belief is that assessment in the classroom should be constant. Students should have the opportunity to be measured beyond simple tests and quizzes. Presentations, class discussions and work portfolios are different methods where students can prove they are absorbing presented knowledge is important to include in monitoring progress. Progress monitoring should be utilized in conjunction with consistent and thorough reflection both at the student and teacher levels. If conducted correctly, the valuable information gathered from critical refection can be used to guide and improve instruction to more precisely match the needs of all students in my class.
     A teacher is more than just a facilitator of knowledge. A great teacher is one that fulfills all of the following roles: educator, mentor, role model, authority figure, planner, assessor, counselor, as well as a peer.   One can achieve this by trying to use all of the INTASC principles. I would like to be a teacher because it is more unique than any other occupation. This will allow me the chance to affect the young minds of the future, and attempt to shape their minds as they grow. Truthfully, my hope is to make a difference and impact the lives of my students.
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