A key benchmark of the Teacher Education program is the ongoing tracking of your Professional Attributes. This list describes effective characteristics and behaviors expected of a professional educator. You will be introduced to Professional Attributes in Teacher Education 1 and assessed on them throughout Teacher Education 1, 2 and 3. The expectation is that all candidates will exhibit these Professional Attributes in all courses and field experiences throughout the program. Students exhibiting difficulty with the Professional Attributes may be contacted for a conference with the Teacher Education Teaching Leadership Committee. For more detailed information, please refer to the Teacher Fitness Policies section of the Teacher Education Online Handbook.
CRITERION 1: Physical Characteristics
1. Health and Ableness: The candidate has the physical and mental characteristics, sufficient motor coordination and energy, adequate visual and auditory acuity, and otherwise good health needed to effectively and independently implement the instructional and managerial duties associated with teaching the levels and fields for which the candidate is being prepared.
Implementation: University and school personnel will observe the candidate’s ability to perform the physical requirements normally associated with the teaching position sought. A candidate’s ability to move about safely on the university and/or school campus, to manipulate various teaching tools, and to perform other special movements associated with the duties of a particular teaching position are necessary. A candidate’s functioning in normal situations requiring an individual response, interaction with others, meeting obligations, and handling problems will be considered, as will a candidate’s attendance record and the number of medical excuses submitted. Insurmountable limitations may be grounds for denial of admission to and continuation in Teacher Education and of recommendation for certification. A teacher candidate who experiences chronic difficulties will be encouraged to seek medical help.
2. Appearance: The candidate takes pride in his or her personal appearance and presents him/herself in manner of dress and hygiene professionally appropriate to the age students being taught.
Implementation: The personal appearance of candidates as well their personal management of the learning environment will be observed by both university and public school personnel. A pattern of poor body hygiene, sloppy dress, inappropriate attire, visible tattoos or piercings, or other dress code violations will be cause for concern.
CRITERION 2. Personality Characteristics
3. Cooperation: The candidate works cooperatively with peers, site teachers, and faculty; contributes constructively to group objectives; disagrees courteously, avoids sarcasm, makes constructive suggestions; accepts suggestions and constructive criticism; and modifies behavior appropriately.
Implementation: Evidence of this attribute is obtained in a wide variety of group situations, from participation in whole class discussions and small group activities; to questioning and contributing in class, departmental, and social task-related meetings; to conversation with peers and advisors. Faculty members, school personnel, supervisors, and peers can all contribute to the assessment of an individual’s effectiveness in cooperative group processes. Either continual domination or withdrawal, intimidation of or deference to others, and aggression or resistance, will be evidence of problems in this area.
4. Tactfulness: The candidate recognizes the implications of words and actions upon others and avoids situations which offend institutional and community mores.
Implementation: Because the teacher candidate serves as an important model to students and a key representative of the school and the university, a prospective teacher’s ability to handle a variety of situations with a variety of adult and child individuals in appropriate ways is extremely important. The candidate will be aware of and compensate for the feelings and self-esteem of others.
5. Flexibility and Patience: The candidate displays a willingness and ability to adapt to changes in events, conditions, activities, and tasks, and an overall patience for circumstances and human interactions.
Implementation: The unexpected is the norm in teaching, so evidence of this attribute will be a candidate’s response to the unexpected—changes in schedule, unexpected requirements, or unplanned challenges, such as a team member not completing his or her portion of a project. Responses that can be observed and measured include facial expressions; conversational tone with teachers, facilitators, supervisors, and peers; as well as written responses like emails and reflections.
6. Organization: The candidate monitors and controls time, materials, and product expectations.
Implementation: The organized candidate will keep a calendar so as to not be caught off-guard by due dates, have all course notes stored neatly in paper and electronic files; and come prepared to presentations or teaching episodes with all appropriate and necessary materials. Organization is a function of personality, so it is expected to take on various forms. Lack of organization will be evident in rushed and frantic responses and ill-prepared teaching performances.
7. Enthusiasm: The candidate displays energy and enthusiasm and responds appropriately to humor.
Implementation: It is expected that teaching candidates will be excited to be in the program and learning about their chosen profession. An enthusiastic, humorous approach to teaching leads to increased student engagement, interest, and learning. It is expected that a candidate’s level of enthusiasm will be a function of his or her personality.
8. Creativity: The candidate synthesizes theory and practice into new personalized adaptations and applications.
Implementation: The creative teacher candidate pursues unusual, unique solutions and insights related to lesson planning, design, and presentation; organization of environment; and management of the learning environment. This attribute might be demonstrated by the integration of diverse contents in curricular strategies such as the use of unusual tools, or the use of usual tools in unusual ways and by fresh, spontaneous responses to teaching scenarios.
9. Initiative and Risk-Taking: The candidate displays independence and motivation in undertaking activities and assignments.
Implementation: The candidate will demonstrate this attribute by his or her readiness to step in, get involved, get up out of his or her chair, take risks, attempt the unfamiliar, and, sometimes, fail. He or she will show a willingness to assume leadership of his or her own learning rather than wait for learning to happen.
CRITERION 3: Responsibility Characteristics
10. Responsibility: The candidate undertakes and completes assigned tasks, meets university and program requirements and deadlines, anticipates problems and plans ahead, and adapts to professional standards and policies.
Implementation: Evidence of the candidate’s awareness of institutional requirements, rules, and schedules, and of the maturity and responsibility to meet such expectations, is obtained by noting the ease and promptness with which each candidate meets established expectations. Being familiar with handbooks and course syllabi; attending informational meetings; seeking early counsel from faculty advisors, facilitators or senior peers; and complying with stated procedures and schedules provide evidence for meeting this attribute. Frequent or continual failure to meet with or to complete procedures correctly, repeated requests for exceptions to rules, persistent violations of school policies, and the like will constitute grounds for a conclusion that this attribute has not been met.
11. Attendance and Punctuality: The candidate is present and punctual for class and appointments, arranges ahead of time with all necessary individuals for unavoidable delays or absences, and does not solicit exceptions for any but very special and legitimate circumstances.
Implementation: Evidence for this attribute may be obtained from every class and program related activity, including field experiences in the schools. Excessive absences with no legitimate excuse, persistent tardiness in attendance, repeated requests for exceptions, and unexplained failure to keep appointments or to attend announced meetings will be evidence that the candidate has not demonstrated this attribute.
12. Maturity: The candidate displays poise in task completion and personal interactions, acknowledges his or her own responsibility and culpability, and does not attempt to transfer fault or blame to others or to rationalize his or her own inadequate or missing performance.
Implementation: Evidence of this attribute is gathered from all the candidate’s behaviors in his or her academic activities on campus and in his or her field- related responsibilities. The candidate who not only fails to appear or to prepare to meet a deadline or to fulfill some other responsibility but who also consistently tries to place the fault on someone else will be deemed to not have demonstrated this attribute. The closer a candidate is to completing the program and being certified to teach, the higher the level of maturity that will be expected.
CRITERION 4: Communication Skills.
13. Oral Communication: The candidate’s oral communication reflects appropriate voice and speech delivery; clarity, fluency, and grammatical correctness; use of standard English and understandable accent; appropriate formality to any situation; and verbal flexibility allowing rephrasing or translating of ideas or questions until instruction is clear to students.
Implementation: This attribute is evaluated in all oral interactions of the candidate, including in education courses and in formal interactions with faculty and staff as well as in the candidate’s oral interaction with students in the schools. The candidate must initiate enough communication for this attribute to be assessed; hiding limitations through non-participation may also be evaluated negatively. The candidate must be able to supply either simpler or more complicated versions of the same message as the occasion requires. Candidates whose spoken language is grammatically incorrect will be so advised, remediation will be suggested, and opportunities to show improvement will be provided. However, it is the candidate’s responsibility to make the improvement, and a person who cannot speak standard oral English may not be admitted to or continue in the Teacher Education program or recommended for certification.14. Written Communication: The candidate’s written products reflect appropriate and accurate spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, format, and English usage; and demonstrate organization and composition that effectively communicate ideas, directions, explanations, lesson plans, messages, and other teaching- related written product
Implementation: This attribute is evaluated through a formal test of grammar, mechanics, spelling, and diction at the beginning of the program, as well as through the continual assessment of candidates’ written assignments, papers, and examinations. Information communications, such as email, are also considered a form of professional written communication and will be likewise assessed. Correctness is a basic essential, but clarity, organization, and significance of message are also necessary. Moreover, correctness must not only be recognized on a test but also in spontaneously produced writing generated by the candidate. A candidate with unacceptable writing skills will be encouraged to seek professional help either through a university program, or through a private tutor, and opportunities to demonstrate improvement will be provided. However, the responsibility rests on the candidate to make the improvement.
CRITERION 5: Professional Relationship Skills
15. Demeanor: The candidate demonstrates positive attitudes in interactions with other professionals, collaborates with peers, relates easily and appropriately to those in authority, and complies with rules and reports problems with school and university operations with reference to specific evidence and reasonable courtesy.
Implementation: For this attribute, good working relationships with adults at all levels should be evident. Cliquish or unproductive peer relations, violent outbursts; by-passing those in authority, or the flagrant violation of rules and procedures would be grounds for faculty concern. Equally of concern would be cases where the teacher candidate was unwilling or unable to express a problem or seek assistance from a responsible administrator or faculty.
16. Rapport: The candidate relates easily and appropriately to children, youth, and others responsible to him or her, providing leadership or direction while involving others and listening to and incorporating their desires and concerns.
Implementation: This attribute is primarily met in field experiences related to children and youth in the public schools. However, it may also be met in professional activities in which the candidate is in a leadership role. Overlooking the reactions, needs, and involvement of those in his or her charge; finding it difficult to organize, to communicate with, or to direct the activities of a group for which he or she is responsible; and failing to establish a mutually satisfying rapport with those he or she is to teach or supervise would be evidence that a candidate could not discharge the responsibilities of teaching.
17. Awareness of Individual Differences: The candidate recognizes and empathizes with human differences in ethnicity, gender, physical ability and intellectual ability, and demonstrates sensitivity to social expectations in varied environments.
Implementation: The candidate will be evaluated on this attribute in all interactions in the program, including coursework, meetings, and field experiences. He or she will be aware that the general expectation may require alteration of his or her customary behavior by changing that behavior to meet the expectation, whether it is in appearance, dress, language, or some other dimension of his or her social presence.
CRITERION 6: Commitment to the Teaching Profession
18. Professionalism: The candidate recognizes, seeks, and applies the best theory, research, and practice in professional activities; is proud to assert his or her intention of becoming a teacher; and demonstrates a commitment to education as a career.
Implementation: Throughout the candidate’s affiliation with the Teacher Education program, faculty and staff will observe whether the teacher candidate demonstrates behavior that reflects such commitment. Unexcused or shoddy work, inattention, lack of participation, negative comments about children, and the like will be interpreted as lack of commitment.
19. With-it-ness: The candidate exhibits simultaneous awareness of all aspects of the learning environment.
Implementation: The with-it-ness attribute encompasses many intangibles required of the teaching profession. “With-it” teacher candidates are learning to “juggle,” “spin plates,” “think on their feet,” and have “eyes in the backs of their heads.” They can effectively balance all requirements of the job.
20. Reflectivity: The candidate reflects and evaluates professional experiences with constructive criticism.
Implementation: Good teachers constantly ask questions about their teaching and their students’ learning. They review classroom data and consider what can be done differently. This attribute is demonstrated through inquiry-based coursework, conversations with cooperating teachers, facilitators, supervisors, and peers, and written reflections and assignments.
Students exhibiting difficulty with the Professional Attributes may meet with the Teacher Education Leadership Committee and be placed on a growth plan to guide their ongoing development. (See the Teaching Fitness Policy section for more information on related policies).