ETAP 512: Teachers in Context
Fall, 2009
Guidelines for the Final Reflective Essay













Submission Guidelines


Overview. The final assignment for this course is an essay in which you reflect on the question,

What does it mean to be a teacher in view of what you learned in this course about the many different contextual influences on teachers and teaching?

Your essay should explore how your sense of what it means to be a teacher has been shaped by our collective inquiry in this course into the many social, political, institutional, cultural, and related contextual factors that influence teaching. Your essay should include discussion of what you see as the implications of this inquiry for your own practice as a teacher.

Please keep in mind that this essay is not a self-evaluation of your performance in this course, nor is it an evaluation of the course itself; rather, it should be a thoughtful reflection on what you have learned about teachers and teaching and how that learning has shaped (or not) your sense of what it means to be a teacher.

In your essay you should refer to course readings and assignments or related experiences that might somehow figure into the learning you have engaged in. Keep in mind that the primary purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity for focused reflection on your work in this course and to provide your instructor with a text that documents that reflection and offers some insight into your learning in the course.

Submission Guidelines. Please follow these guidelines when completing and submitting this assignment:

  • Your essay should be about 800-1000 words in length but no longer than 1000 words. You should follow the basic conventions of academic writing in your report, but there is no need to be overly formal in your writing style for this assignment.

  • Please submit your essay as a Microsoft Word file or, if you are using a different word processing program, as a rich text file. (Let me know if you have questions about format.)

  • Submit your essay as an attachment to an email message sent directly to the instructor ( (If submitting your essay via email is a problem, you may submit it on a floppy disk or CD.)

  • This assignment is due by midnight on Monday, December 7th.

Grading. This assignment is worth 15 points. Points will be awarded on the basis of the following two main criteria:

  • Thoughtfulness. Your essay should reflect your own careful reflection about the work of this course and its impact on your thinking about what it means to me a teacher. There is no right or wrong way to think about being a teacher, but your essay should demonstrate that you engaged thoughtfully with the questions and problems discussed in the course, even when you might have disagreed with the views expressed in the readings or by your classmates or instructors.

  • Clarity. Your essay should be well written: organized, clear, and readable. It should have few errors and conform to appropriate academic conventions (including conventions for citing sources).