Standards of Practice In Action at Roberta Bondar Public School
The Standards of Practice that teachers are expected to follow provide a framework for the behaviour, skills and knowledge that is essential in the teaching profession. There are five interdependent domains; commitment to students and student learning, professional knowledge, professional practice, leadership in learning communities and ongoing professional learning. Within these standards there are four core ethical standards of practice: care, trust, respect and integrity. These ethical standards reflect the communal beliefs and values held by the professionals in the teaching field. Though each individual possesses his or her own personal worldview, it is through the above named standards that teachers become united in their practice.
At the beginning of September, I was assigned my first teaching block at Roberta Bondar Public School (R.B.P.S). This school is a balanced-calendar school, which is something I had never even heard of until this year. At first, I was upset. I thought it would be a waste of my time to be involved in a balanced-calendar school, since that’s not the type of school I see myself working in. My worldview has always included the belief that children should be allowed a “summer break” to relax, have fun and do things they wouldn’t normally do during the school year.
I was assigned to a grade 2 classroom, and after my first day of internship, my worldview had changed. We, as interns, were welcomed with open arms and immediately accepted into the “Bondar Family”, as they call it. I discovered the importance of a tightly-knit learning community. Through the leadership of Mrs. Marshall (the principal), this learning community is tightly unified and together they work hard to accomplish great things. They share and support each other’s ideas, learn from one another and suggest and implement new strategies to be used. Through workshops, meetings and seminars that enhance their own professional learning, they remain current in their practice, displaying yet another standard of practice: ongoing professional learning. At R.B.P.S., I see the positive effect that good leadership in learning communities and ongoing professional learning can have on those affected by it. The children at R.B.P.S. have no problem being in school through the summer, since they are surrounded by such energetic and influential role-models. This is a learning community I would love to be a part of one day. Maybe a balanced-calendar school isn’t so bad after all?
At Roberta Bondar, the commitment to the students and student learning is immense. For example, the other day the vice principal was pulled over for not coming to a complete stop at the stop sign. When asked why she rolled through the sign, she replied “I’m sorry, I’m just coming from school and I was thinking about this student who was in detention today. I was trying to think of a way I could help engage him in learning so that he would feel encouraged at school and feel less of a need to be a distraction in his class.” The police officer paused then responded “You’re a teacher?” She waited a minute, thinking: “Oh great…he’s probably had bad experiences with teachers and is now going to penalize me” but yet she replied honestly with: “yes…yes I am”. The police officer looked puzzled and asked: “You’re thinking about a student even though you’re done for the day?” She responded, “Good teachers are never done for the day. They’re the ones who stay up all night thinking about their students”. The police officer said, “I wish more teachers were like you…have a nice day ma’am and please remember to come to a complete stop next time”. If teachers are required to be committed to students and student learning, it is important that they care for the children enough to consider their needs even on the “off-hours”
If I could describe R.B.P.S. in one word, it would be “overachieving”. The staff members are always willing to take on new roles and responsibilities in order to meet the needs of the students and to go above and beyond the call of duty. To someone like me, who aspires to make a difference in someone’s life, R.B.P.S. has been a great inspiration and first introduction to the noble profession of teaching.