Walden's Characteristics of Professional Excellence
The following characteristics of professional excellence, written and adopted by the Walden faculty and staff in March of 2012, guide our daily work.
At Walden, the goal of developing to one's fullest potential is not only for the children. I pursue career-long professional development as a foremost priority. I am dedicated to maintaining cutting-edge knowledge that will support the mission-consistent practices and expectations upheld by the Walden community.
Walden is committed to providing an environment where its members feel emotionally safe, supported, and encouraged. I understand that teaching at Walden, while rewarding, is very demanding and that I must have a means of developing a core of inner peace. I strive to maintain a healthy work/life balance, regularly engaging in personal renewal of mind, body, and spirit, so that I may offer my best to all those in my life.
I understand that Walden is a community that will only work if each teacher sees him or herself as responsible for the whole school and for each child in it. I demonstrate through words and actions an earnest public and private commitment to the school, its mission and purposes, its leadership, and my colleagues.
At Walden, we believe in a commitment to a culture of conversation that recognizes the diversity of the members of the community. This culture is defined as the shared set of values, beliefs, norms, attitudes, behaviors, and social structures that define reality and guide everyday interactions in the Walden community. We strive to develop and model culturally distinct pathways to communicate, problem solve, make decisions, and resolve conflict in ways that promote teamwork and healthy discourse.
At Walden, we believe that the passion that accompanies our attention to subjects, issues, and children is not just something we offer our students, it is also a gift we grant ourselves: a way of honoring our life’s work and our profession. We strive to be teachers who model being enthusiastic learners, deeply stirred by issues and ideas that challenge our world, and drawn to the dilemmas and potentials of the students who come into our classrooms each day.
Walden’s philosophy is to address all aspects of a child's growth. I strive to acquire an understanding of cognitive, social, and developmental theories of learning, with an emphasis on the multi-age approach, and how they apply to students in my classroom. My pedagogical expertise includes an understanding of how students construct knowledge and acquire skills, solve problems, and develop habits of mind and positive attitudes toward learning.
I understand that my gestures, movements, expressions, words, and tone can have a profound effect on all members of the Walden community. Therefore, my presence at school projects warmth, energy, and dedication. In all of our interactions in and out of the classroom, I make it clear to my students that I am eager to teach them and that I wish them success every day.
At Walden, it is important that we develop healthy and respectful relationships while valuing the differences that exist in each other. We believe that others have wisdom, stories, information, and suggestions that support our intellectual growth and personal well-being and strive to support a collaborative culture that respects and upholds this value.
Striving for educational excellence at Walden requires teachers to engage in a contemplative pedagogy that interplays the mindful presence of a teacher with effective instructional methods. We know that mindful presence is not accidental. It requires the teacher to “pay attention on purpose.” Therefore, I strive to be in the moment in the classroom, with a conscious direction of my awareness toward my students. I will be responsive to the happenings of the classroom, attentive to the needs of students, voiced and unvoiced, actively listening to them and their stories, and aware of the discovery of ideas, events, and spaces that can provide learning in each day.
At Walden, we believe a whole-child education begins in community. We strive to have meaningful and healthy emotional engagement with our students. I understand that how I act is just as, if not more, important than what I say, and model behavior and relationships that demonstrate respect for others and myself. I also display conspicuous interest in my students’ lives without crossing privacy barriers.