*Please see the updates section for information from my first few years teaching.

Welcome! My name is Shalamar Ackerman and I am a graduate student in the elementary education program at the School of Education at The College of William and Mary. I plan to graduate with my Master's of Arts in Education on May 12, 2013. I received my Bachelor's of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in psychology on May 13, 2012 from The College of William and Mary.
I grew up in Hampton, Virginia with my grandparents. During my elementary school years, I attended a private Christian school. I transferred to Hampton City Schools between the seventh and eighth grade. While I believe that my time in the private school laid the foundation for deeper understanding, I know that the public schools gave me many more opportunities to further my education and deepen my knowledge on topics that I was interested in studying.

I am currently a student teacher in the fourth grade at DJ Montague Elementary School in Williamsburg, Virginia. Most of my practicum was completed there as well. However, I did have one experience in another school in Yorktown, Virginia. DJ Montague recently received the honor of being a Title 1 distinguished school.

I am currently placed in Mrs. Washington's fourth grade classroom. The classroom is diverse, with some of the students receiving services for special education while other students receive enrichment from the Visions program. While at times it is challenging to remember when each student is being pulled for services, it is an extremely enriching and fulfilling experience to be placed in this classroom. Each day, the students challenge me to find new ways to help them understand the material or to enrich the material.

Throughout my time at DJ Montague, I had the opportunity to work with school personnel. During my practicum, I had the opportunity to visit and observe other teachers and classrooms. I also had the opportunity to teach two different lessons to two primary grades during my practicum. Beyond interacting with teachers at the school, I had the opportunity to interact and observe the special education teacher for half of a day. I also interviewed her to understand what her roles are within the school and how she helps every student. In addition, I also interacted with some of the specialists. I participated in team meetings with the specialists to understand how the fourth grade team can enhance the students' learning experiences even more. Finally, I had the opportunity of team planning with not only the fourth grade team teachers but also with the two other student teachers. This experience, in particular, helped me understand how effective and efficient a team can be even when there are many different personalities around.

In my free time, I enjoy dancing and am currently working at my dance studio as an instructor. I've been a dancer at the studio since 2005 and started teaching in 2010. I think that the best part about my job is seeing my students grow throughout the year and master dance steps along the way. I also enjoy reading when I have spare time. During the spring and summer, I enjoy being outside and working in my garden.

I hope that you find this portfolio to be useful in understanding who I am as a teacher. The purpose of this portfolio is to show how I have grown throughout the year and to show my teaching philosophies. I hope that this portfolio is an asset for you to help you understand my teaching style.