A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. - Henry Adams
Jerry Smith's Digital Teaching Portfolio

Standard VII: Evaluates His Overall Performance and Develops a Professional Development Plan


Can I be a better teacher? Of course I can! Through this entire first year, I have engaged in a great deal of professional development that I feel has provided me with strategies that have helped me to be a much better teacher. I developed a professional development plan in October and managed to complete most of the identified development objectives. Even though all of this training has been very tiring, I have learned a great deal about teaching. I have also picked up a few new technical skills.

As evidence of my mastery of this standard, I will present to you my professional development documents, followed by information about how I completed the objectives stated on those documents. I will then present information on technical training I have or will receive. Finally, I will include information about my professional memberships.

The Evidence

Note: The green box around two or more items indicate that the items are meant to be used together.

Professional Growth Plan

  • Professional Growth Plan (Word Format) - This document identifies what I feel are my two biggest weaknesses: the bland appearance of my classroom and the lack of enough formal assessment of student learning. It then outlines what I plan to do to fix these problesms.

Professional Development for Fall 2004-Spring 2005

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking Training Certificate (JPG)/a> - In October 2004, I went to a two day workshop to learn voice recognition software.
  • New Teacher Institute Training (JPG) - From October 11-15, 2005, I was in Frankfort attending the New Teacher Institute. NTI was 5-day long crash course in how to teach. The two things I feel I learned the most was lesson development and classroom management (especially discipline). While NTI was very tiring, I feel it gave me a great deal of confidence and helped me to be a better teacher.
  • MOS Certification - On June 6, 2005, I obtained my MOS Core certifications in Word and Excel at the Harrison County ATC.
  • Special Populations Training - On June 9, 2005, I went to a one-day workshop at Morehead State dealing with Special Populations. I learned a great deal about accomodations for special needs and universal building design.
  • Screen and Video Capture - On June 10, 2005, I attended a workshop at Eastern Kentucky University concerning the use of computer screen captures for instructional purposes.
  • Network Security for Beginners - From June 13-15, I attended a workshop dedicated to network security. The information I learned will help me keep my lab in tip-top shape.

Professional Memberships

  • Membership Cards (JPG) - I am a member of the NBEA, KEA, and the KBEA (not shown because I don't yet have a card.


One of my undergraduate professors once told me that my taste for self-criticism was my biggest strength. At this point in life, his observation is as true as ever. I have probably been harder on myself since I started teaching than at any other time in my life. Much of this self-criticism stems from my feelings of professional inadequacy. I haven't just been beating myself up, though. I have actively taken steps to make sure I can correct the deficiencies I believe I have. I have yet to engage in one professional growth activity that has not benefited me in some way.

I have engaged in plenty of teacher education training this year. I feel that this training has helped me tremendously. I no longer have situational anxiety when I am faced with difficult teaching situations because I can fall back on my best-practices training. This is not to say that I always execute these best-practices strategies perfectly, but I am much better off just by trying to use these strategies.

I am not at all worried about my technical skills. My love for technology guarantees that I will stay on the cutting edge of industry trends and knowledge. I really enjoy the opportunities that Kentucky Tech gives me to take additional technical training and so far I have taken full advantage of them.

Learning to be a teacher is different than learning technical skills because of the vast diversity found in students. There are so many different way to teach because there are so many different kinds of people. Because of this, I don't think it's possible to learn everything there is to know about teaching. I haven't even begun to employ all the teaching strategies I have been exposed to, but it is nice to know they are there. I don't get to comb over all of the professional literature I receive from the NEA and KEA, but I try to read at least the feature stories. I have found that these resources make me aware of issues that I otherwise would have no clue about, such as research that links nutrition with academic performance and discipline problems.

One of my professional development goals for next year is to take some training on portfolios and open-response questions. While most of the projects we do are not suitable for the portfolios, I feel that the better I understand Kentucky's portfolio, the better chance I have to help my students produce some quality transactive pieces. Also, I plan on taking more training in the area of special needs. I have had a lot of "crash-course" work dealing with the topic, but I would like to approach it in-depth since one of my original teaching goals was to make sure everyone learns in my classes.