It is the vision of the Calvin Teacher Education Program to develop responsive and transformative Christian educators who can meet the needs of diverse students in multiple school settings. This vision demands that we uphold the highest standards of excellence in teacher preparation. The standards are based on the virtues that Calvin’s core curriculum is designed to foster: diligence, patience, honesty, courage, charity, creativity, empathy, humility, compassion, justice, faith, hope, and wisdom. A significant component of the preparation of excellent Christian educators is to assist candidates in developing professional commitments. Professional commitments are integrated throughout the Expanded Statement of Professional Goals in our Conceptual Framework. However, there are particular professional commitments that warrant highlighting, including the following:
- A commitment to equity, justice, and the belief that all students can learn.
The Conceptual Framework recognizes that teachers must be committed to equity and justice in order to support the learning of all students. Behaviors consistent with this commitment include the following:
- Candidates respect points of view that differ from their own.
- Candidates celebrate diversity among their students as part of God’s plan for creation.
- Candidates commit to learning enough about learners, effective pedagogical strategies, and school contexts to make instructional decisions that support the learning of all their students.
- Candidates recognize the relevance, purpose, and value of the subject matter(s) they teach.
- Candidates are willing to examine their own assumptions about learners, content, curriculum, pedagogy, and contexts and to change these assumptions based on new understandings.
- Candidates are committed to transforming educational practices and structures that inhibit equity and justice.
Becoming a professional is an important part of each education course prospective teachers take at Calvin, and as prospective teachers progress through the program professional commitments will become increasingly evident. Behaviors consistent with being a professional include the following:
- Candidates treat colleagues, faculty, students, and parents with respect in all interactions with them, including appropriate oral and written communications.
- Candidates take responsibility for their own learning and behavior.
- Candidates accept constructive feedback and take responsibility for using it to shape their behavior.
- Candidates are punctual and consistent in attendance of all classes and field experiences.
- Candidates participate actively in class and field experiences. They contribute appropriately to group tasks and complete their work promptly and in a high-quality manner.
- Candidates display eagerness and enthusiasm for teaching and learning.
- Candidates dress appropriately for professional settings and display a professional demeanor.
- Candidates maintain appropriate relationships with peers, teachers, faculty, and students.
The Teacher Education Program has a formal process by which faculty and mentor teachers evaluate the candidate’s growth in knowledge, skills, and commitments. Candidates are also required to engage in self-evaluation in these areas. Faculty and mentor teachers are asked to record their concerns about any candidate’s lack of growth in these knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The TEC Student Support Committee works with identified candidates to develop a plan that addresses and monitors concerns.
The purpose of this Statement of Commitment to Professionalism is to identify the professional commitments and behaviors for which candidates are to be held accountable and to ensure that candidates understand that commitments are an important part of their professional growth and development and will be taken into consideration in determining eligibility for entering the program, approval to student teach, and recommendation for certification. These commitments will be discussed in IDIS 205, Education 102, 202, 302-303, 307, 322, 398 and student teaching.
Approved by the Teacher Education Committee, May 2009