I received the results of the spring survey that I had 1 of my 4 7th grade math classes complete. Again, like the fall, most results were “medium”. I’m not sure if this is the language of the survey, or just the nature of working with middle school students, but the term medium suggests to me that my performance in the classroom is not at the level I would like it to be and significant professional growth is required. As we move forward with this student feedback and new professional growth process I would like to see opportunity for students to make anecdotal comments to clarify why they chose to rate me in a particular way. I think this would allow me to be more focused in my efforts to improve my teaching.
There were some positive takeaways from the spring survey results. Item 2 under clarify, “If you don’t understand something, my teacher explains it another way,” has improved from low to medium. This was something that I specifically focused on since receiving my fall survey results and it is nice to see that I have been successful improving in this area.
A significant area of concern was in confer. All 3 items here moved from high to medium. This is definitely going to require some reflection as students clearly feel they have less of a voice in my class than they did at the beginning of the year.
An additional area of concern is that students sometimes feel bored, don’t always feel challenged and feel that I accept less than their best work. I recognize that this is partly due to the huge range of math ability in each of my classes, but that really is no excuse. Moving forward my professional goal, if I were continuing as a math teacher, would focus primarily on differentiation and personalized learning. I currently do make efforts to challenge students at their level through optional weekly challenge packets, extension opportunities and a homework menu that allows students to select an appropriate assignment for their level, but clearly there is work to be done in this area. One thing that I need to do a better job at is using formative assessment data to drive instruction. I still rely heavily on whole group instruction, which does potentially lead to boredom for my higher-level kids. This has been an ongoing topic of conversation in our department meetings, and as a department we are working together to try to improve in this area.
As this is likely my final blog posts of the year, I want to say that I am happy that I chose to be part of the pilot project and that I feel this has been a refreshing and valuable new look at professional growth. I have always been reflective of my practice and have sought student feedback through anonymous surveys in the past, but taking the time to write down my thoughts in a blog has allowed me to be more focused and has been a valuable process. I look forward to continuing this next school year.
As we begin trimester 3 I want to reflect on my progress to date. I am a little sad to see this is only my 3rd entry. I had hopes of using this more. Next year…
I completed C6 training in February and there were some valuable takeaways. I have always been focused on having students understand math vocabulary and making sure we are all using common language in class, but after C6 training I am trying to be more concrete and explicit in the way I teach vocabulary to better support emerging bilingual students. I mainly do this through games and online tools like quizlet and Kahoot! I have no quantitative data to support this, but these activities seem to be beneficial. I experimented on our last summative assessment removing some scaffolding from a communication section and overall results were unaffected. I have also continued to focus on content and language objectives in my planning, but I still feel this could be emphasized more throughout the lesson. I have yet to include a cultural objective as I find this challenging in the context of a seventh grade math class without becoming repetitive and losing purpose. Having the mindset that I am a language teacher as well as a math teacher has helped me improve in this area.
Another focus area outside of my goal, based on survey results which indicated that I do not do a good job showing multiple ways to solve problems, is something I have been working on. Since reviewing the survey results this is become a major focus when solving problems in class as I try to model as well as encourage students to attempt multiple ways of solving problems. I am hoping to see an improvement in this area when we complete the second round of surveys this spring.
It was interesting to get student feedback on my performance in the classroom. I’ve used surveys in the past to get student feedback, but they have never been this detailed and they have always been something that I have created. I found it helpful to think of the results through a different lens. Rather than low, medium and high I thought of it as we do in middle school with approaching, meeting and mastering. The majority of my survey results were medium which I took to mean that I was meeting the expectations of my students. There were two particular lows that caught my attention and have caused me to reflect on my teaching practice. Under clarify, there is one item that says, “If I don’t understand something, my teacher explains it another way.” This is something that I’ve always felt was a strength of mine as a math teacher. It seems that it is not coming across that way and it is something that I have focused my attention on since receiving the survey results. I will be curious to see if I improve in this area when we re-survey the kids. The second low that I found interesting was under consolidate. “My teacher takes time to summarize what we learn each day.” This is something else that I do make an effort to do in class, but it seems to be falling short. Since receiving the survey results, I have made an effort to be less rushed at the end of class and to do a better job of consolidating learning. One item that I am particularly proud of is under challenge. “My teacher wants us to use our thinking skills, not just memorize.” This is definitely a priority of my teaching and I was happy to see it rated as a high. Overall I found this process to be a very meaningful for my professional growth. I have definitely had some valuable conversations with administrators following classroom visits, but this, coming directly from the students, feels more authentic.
My professional goal for the 18-19 school year is to improve access to the 7th grade math curriculum for language learners in my classroom. Part of my plan to achieve this goal is to attend SIOP training in February. I feel that my goal aligns with 2 of the 7 C’s.
Care – My goal will help me address the learning needs of my students.
Clarify – My goal will help my students better understand my course content.
Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.
- Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
- Self assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards (Tripod 7C’s)
- Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
- Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
- Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
- Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
- Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
- You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.
If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!