Teaching is the foundation for the future of our country, and I take great pride in being part of a profession that plays such a vital role in the lives of the young people in America.  As a teacher, I feel the most basic element necessary for a successful classroom is providing an environment that is safe, comfortable, and conducive to learning.  Second, it is vital to serve as a role model to the students and provide the structure and framework necessary to achieve success in the classroom and ultimately in their future endeavors.   This all can be achieved by establishing a relationship of trust and respect with your students.  How a teacher acts in the classroom and interacts with the students is essential to achieving mutual respect.  I endeavor to provide open communication between students, parents, and myself in order to ensure all needs are met.  Additionally, I provide clearly defined goals and expectations which help my students achieve those goals, while ensuring that students have opportunities for feedback and self-evaluation.


    Because of the various learning styles, levels, and abilities in my classroom, differentiated instruction is incorporated to ensure the success of all learners.  Instruction includes the use of guided notes/lecture, guided practice, individual practice, cooperative learning, reinforcement through laboratory activities, and the use of various technology resources.


    Education is a constantly evolving process for all those involved; teacher and students.  As an Earth Science Instructor, I see many opportunities to connect our curriculum to current or recent events.  I feel strongly about making this connection to "real-world" events in order to attach meaning and spark interest in the topic we are covering.  The students respond well to this technique which leads a deeper understanding of the material.  By activating the students interest and/or prior knowledge in the subject matter, it makes our time together more interesting and educational at the same time.  In order to cotinually better my teaching, I also participate in various professional development activities relating to improved instructional strategies and techniques. 


    In addition to teaching the students Earth Science, I feel it is very important to guide and reinforce the students with the basic study skills/practice they have learned throughout their educational career.  This will ensure their continued success in my class as well as in others..  


    My grading scheme is outlined below.  By counting tests, quizzes, and class/home assignments as a large percentage of their grade, it helps me gauge their level of knowledge and ultimately their ability to succeed on the New York State Regents Exam in Earth Science.  The laboratory percentage of the grade is directly proportional to the amount of time spent working on and completing labs (about 1/3 of the time).  The combination of settings and skills outlined above help students of all abilities be successful in my classroom as well as others.