Online learning

As we prepare to start the 2020-21 academic year in a similar situation as to how we finished the end of last year, the school has set us some online modules to complete. During this process it allowed me to think about my teaching within this new model we find ourselves and also become acquainted as to the expectations set by the school.

Here is my first attempt at the online learning planner being used by ISB.

The reason I’ve stated this is my first attempt is that I know it can be better and I know I will improve as a learner during this process. Just as I hope my students will.

Last year was a challenge. Trying to utilise a phone and a temperamental iPad meant trying to create lessons and communicate took patience and resilience. Now that I finally have a laptop to help streamline certain processes this will certainly help with my mental health at least. However, I still have concerns going into this year and I hope that the school understands the difficulties teachers find themselves in by being away from Beijing and the challenges this provides. It is my hope that there is compassion when dealing with teachers who are feeling overwhelmed with this process, just as much as we do when trying to help students. If I’m being honest, having completed the online modules I am feeling overwhelmed at this moment with everything that lies ahead with work and also trying to get back to Beijing.

This has allowed me to reflect on my teaching practice and my interactions with my students. I have always tried to be open and honest with my students and will continue to work on building relationships with them so that they can feel safe and have the confidence to speak up if something does not feel right. This is the major takeaway I’ll be keeping at the forefront of my mind during this period of online and blended learning. Care will certainly be my priority for the students…and myself.



Final goals for this year 2019/20

Here are my goals for this year.

Based on my self-reflection document, the feedback from the surveys from last year, the classes I am teaching this year and the feedback from my first survey my goals are the following:

  • Clarify – For my grade 11 IB Mathematics Analysis & Approaches (AA) SL classes I will make understanding the content of the new curriculum a main focus. 
  • Challenge – A continuation from last year. How can I improve my questioning skills in order to gauge student understanding? 

Analysis of survey results

As a first survey with this class I was reasonably happy with the results. There are some positives from the results but also areas for growth. Therefore, the survey shows that a good first impression of how I care for them to improve, to succeed and that my expectations are clear.

This class also gives me the freedom to try new things as it’s a new course for the IB and I am teaching both classes for this subject.

The 7C’s show strength in all areas which is pleasing but there are always ways to improve. As stated previously my goal this year is to work on my questioning and this comes directly from the feedback from this survey. This area falls within the challenge category.

Here is a breakdown of each section with my brief thoughts:


This section is good to see and that I am beginning to develop productive relationships with the students. However, I still need to work on developing those relationships with students that allow me to see whether something is bothering them.


I always try to develop a teaching practice that allows for open dialogue and it is nice to see that students feel comfortable enough in class to share their ideas.


It’s always nice to see that the amount of time I spend planning and working on delivering relevant learning opportunities is appreciated.


Language is always important when conveying concepts in mathematics and I have also introduced a vocabulary list that I try to get students to refer to in order to help them learn. Introducing them to the criteria early on may have also helped. However, there is one section about when I think the class understands the content and when they do not that requires some thought and can be linked to my questioning goal.


The last question gives me food for thought and, again, can link to my questioning goal.


Overall this is looking good but it’s the area I want to focus on. In particular question 4 is interesting feedback that I need to look over. Maybe I also need to challenge my students more with regards to the last question? However, I am trying to get students to take ownership of their own learning so that the transition to higher education will be smooth.

Class Management

This is a lovely class to teach and I hope I am consistent in the standards I expect to see in class so it is a little surprising the scores on the final two questions. Again, something to think about.

Basic survey results for 2019 (second year of taking part in survey)

Hi all

Here is my first post related to this years’ professional development work. I had some ideas of what I wanted to focus on in relation to my goals for this year but didn’t want to explicitly state them until I had completed the student survey so that it could be more student focused. Just like I did last year.


Survey results

The class I decided to survey this year were my grade 11 class which are the first cohort to go through the new mathematics AA IB curriculum. This class was chosen as I’m trying to implement deeper thinking skills into this class, more project work related to the toolkit, and for students to start to take ownership of their learning.

I’ve attached a snapshot of the results from the survey that give an overview. I will follow up with a later blog post analyzing the results in more detail. However, upon reviewing the results, the area I wish to focus on is the challenge section within the survey. This is consistent with the goal I set last year and obviously remains an area I need to target. My main goal for this year will be related to questioning. How can I improve this aspect of my practice? This is what I’ll try and figure out over the course of this year.

Comparison to last year

What is pleasing is that the scores are similar to last year even though a different grade was surveyed. Below you’ll find a collection of all of my results. Any excise to use excel.

Initial first goals for 2019/20

It’s time to start to develop my goals for this year. You’ll find them below. This will need to be tailored once I get my results from the first survey.

Based on my self-reflection document, the feedback from the surveys from last year and the classes I am teaching this year my goal(s) are the following:

  • Clarify – For my grade 11 IB Mathematics Analysis & Approaches (AA) SL classes I will make understanding the content of the new curriculum a main focus. 
  • Challenge – A continuation from last year. I will continue to set high standards for my students and challenge them to persevere with difficult problems.

Final survey

Final results are in. Although all results were pleasing I was focussing on the challenge section during this school year.

End of year results

End of year results

The challenge section gave me the most pleasure to see that the strategies I tried to implement had a positive impact on the students.

Challenge section

Overall this has given me time to reflect and think about how I make this a common occurrence in my teaching practice, so that it becomes the norm, rather than making it a specific goal for the year.


Throughout the year I had the pleasure of being observed to get some feedback but also observing my peers. Although time is a precious commodity I need to push myself to observe more of my colleagues next year. It is always reassuring to know I am doing the right thing by improving my teaching practice but also picking up tips when observations take place.

Observation cards

Example of some of the observation feedback

Student as a learner

Although I have highlighted perseverance in class and spoken about it I wanted to formalize the process a little more and have something concrete to refer to. This lead me to use the student as a learner rubric (SAL) that we report on at the end of each reporting period. This process involves students having a one on one conversation with me and I get them to self reflect on their work habits, organizational skills and collaboration. We talk about why they award themselves that criterion and examples of how they can improve. This has proven successful. Within the rubric, there is a section about perseverance and I have been guiding students to refer to this section. This has definitely helped students think about it more.

Student as a learner rubric

Reading material

Over the course of this goal setting and reflecting period. I have been asking my peers about perseverance and how they teach it. It’s led to some good discussions and has pointed me towards the following websites and reading material:

Lance King

Sara Van Der Werf

22 minutes, Mindset, Grit and Trauma

This is just a selection of the resources I have used but has given me food for thought with my class that I have used when planning.


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