March 28, 2007
Twenty-five elementary education students from the University of Maine at Fort Kent recently attended a workshop designed to assist them in preparing a professional teaching portfolio.
The University's Student Teachers Educational Professional Society (STEPS), sponsored the workshop presented by Dr. Doris Metz, UMFK's assistant professor of curriculum and instruction.
All UMFK elementary and secondary education students are required to complete a professional portfolio, demonstrating their understanding and knowledge of the state of Maine's "Ten Teaching Standards to Promote Professional Growth" before student teaching. The portfolio is then updated prior to initial teacher certification and licensure, allowing it to be used in a job search.
The ten standards are meant to act as a guide as new teachers enter the education profession. In order for education students to demonstrate their understanding of the standards, they are expected to provide evidence of their personal knowledge and performance as it relates to expectations required of all educators in the state of Maine.
"In this age of accountability, it is our responsibility as teacher educators to prepare our students to the best of their abilities as they enter the teaching field. This includes meeting the requirements of the state of Maine certification board," said Dr. Metz.
Students must determine for themselves what each standard represents in education and in their professional growth and development. They must show how their work at the university, and any other previous work experience brought with them, indicates an understanding of these standards.
The understanding of the individual standards is demonstrated through the inclusion of an artifact, such as an original lesson plan, a certificate of attendance at an educational workshop, or an assessment tool. Although it is a complicated process, it is achievable.
"Our students struggle with understanding what each standard means to them as a student and as a future teacher. This understanding will change and grow with them as their knowledge of education develops further with their teaching experience," concluded Dr. Metz.
Students left the workshop with a clearer understanding of the expectations required of them as they pursue their education certification.