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Apprentice Teaching in Secondary Mathematics and Science

Dear Parents,
My name is Jessica Brenes and I am your childs Biology teacher at _________ School for the school year of
2014. I am a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelors Degree in Biology. I took four years of not just
biology related courses but physics, chemistry, and other science courses. I was 2 classes away from finishing a French
Minor and 1 class away from finishing a UFTeach (an intense minor for educators) Minor. I am qualified to provide your
students with the opportunity and the ability to learn Biology in a way that will help them through college and/or any path
they decide to take. However, I hope that they take from my classroom not only a knowledge of Biology, but skills such as
social skills, work ethic, liability/responsibility, respect, and professionalism. These skills will enhance their chances of
succeeding in life even more than just the knowledge of Biology.
Therefore, in order to be able to mentor and guide your children through the school year, I must first explain my
philosophy of teaching. Teaching a student in my eyes is viewed not only as providing the students with an opportunity to
learn but making sure that the students take advantage of that opportunity. I will ensure that they take away something
valuable from this class every day. Whether it be biology related, not biology related, or both, the student will take
something to help them succeed in life and at home. The way I like to teach Biology is through hands on labs, activities,
group discussions, and productive group interactions. Every students will, by the end of this course, learn how to build
team work skills and professionalism due to their constant group interactions because in the real world, they will have to
to work with people. So they will benefit from learning that skill in school. I will use minimal lecture style teaching
because I believe in student involvement in my classroom.
In order to successfully teach the way I would like, I expect each student to be on-time because tardiness is a
distraction to the whole class and myself. I also expect the students to do their homework (and this includes readings for
labs), so that they come prepared for the discussion, activity, or lab the next day. Any student who does not complete their
homework/readings, may be asked to not participate in the lab or activity, and may be asked to complete their homework
instead. They will however be allowed to participate in the class discussion. The reason they may not participate in the lab
or activity is because they might hold back those students who have done their work, and may be a danger in the lab if
they have not read the procedures as homework. It is imperative that you help push your children to complete their
homework and readings. Another rule is that they follow my classroom rules every day. I will not tolerate any bad
behavior from the students because, again, this is a distraction to the whole class and takes away time that should be spent
on learning. Therefore, things such as cell phone use and bullying will not be tolerated in the classroom.
In regards to communication with you (the parents) I will be sending e-mails when needed, and be calling home
when needed. You may also call me at any time to discuss your childs progress. Even if you are just unsure of whether
your child has homework, I am available every day after school from 3:10-4:30. I also have included my e-mail address as
well. Please do not feel intimidated or hesitant to call me. Ultimately, I will be asking to meet with every childs parents at
least once this year just to be on the same page as you, and discuss your childs achievements and progress. When there
are special request for you (the parents), I will be sending your child home with a letter to ask you for specifics such as:
speakers, donations, and chaperones in class field trips. Keep in mind this is a science classroom so donations of gloves,
paper towels, markers, or anything science related will always be accepted (even without a letter sent home).
In summation, the grading policies will be sent out some time this week. Basically the class will be based on a
100 percentage system: 50 percent will be from tests and quizzes, 10 percent on participations points, 20 percent on
homework collected and discussed, and 20 percent for any lab work and activities. Attendance is mandatory unless there
is an excused absence, in which case the student will be allowed to make up their school work. Well I hope this gets my
expectations across clear as well as my goals. I cannot wait to start this year and I am super excited to teach your children!
Sincerely,
Jessica Brenes
(754)***-****
jessbre@ufl.edu