8. Professional Practice Criteria – The teacher participates collaboratively in the educational community to improve instruction, advance the knowledge and practice of teaching as a profession, and ultimately impact student learning. To me, Professional Practice Criteria means going beyond the technical requirements of being an educator and contributing to the school community in a constructive and collaborative manner. Proficient teachers will be able to participate in a professional community, grow and develop professionally, and show professionalism in everything they do.
I learned about the importance of Professional Practice through reading Hunzicker’s article on the characteristics of exemplary teachers. Figure 1 shows a description of how student-centered mindsets should be a prerequisite for teacher leadership, since having a student-centered disposition motivates teachers to achieve exceptional professional practices. This passage explains how seeing potential students benefits will motivate teachers to accept leadership roles and responsibilities, pursue professional growth, and “value opportunities to collaborate around student-focused goals such as planning instruction and analyzing student work” (Hunzicker, 2013). The passage also revealed how important it is for teachers to focus on teaching effectively before focusing on becoming a teacher leader, because an effective teacher will “recognize obstacles and envision solutions that school leaders may miss” (Hunzicker, 2013). I learned that when a teacher’s disposition reflects a student-centered mindset they will naturally want to improve their professional practice, because they want to better serve their students. Teachers will then be inclined to seek collegial professional relationships with fellow teachers for instructional improvement and collaborate on student-focused goals that help the educational community. Students’ learning is improved when their teachers are enthusiastic about being lifelong learners, because teachers who’re student-centered see the positive impact their professional growth has on their students. A student-centered disposition is fundamental towards impacting student learning, because it encourages teachers to go beyond what is required of them to support their students learning needs. To effectively display Professional Practice Criteria in a proficient manner a teacher must first reflect on their teaching dispositions and any professional weaknesses that need improvement. As teachers accumulate new experiences they should always be in the practice of reflecting on their dispositions, because dispositions are always evolving and developing over their teaching careers. Emerging teachers can also focus on self-efficacy by setting high personal standards and by pursuing professional goals without prompting, which is a step towards self-leadership (Hunzicker, 2013).
Hunzicker, J. L. 2013 “Attitude has a lot to do with it: dispositions of emerging teacher leadership” 17:4, 538-561.