Preparing for the 2020-2021 AY Learning Experience

The year 2020 has truly challenged us all in many sectors of our lives. Although it still posts many uncertainties to us, I believe the benefits will outweigh the hindrances at the end.  COVID -19 has caught the teachers and students in International schools in China off-guarded and we were throwing in online learning without much preparation.  As a math teacher, I feel my strength was keeping the curriculum as rigorous as if we were on the school campus and held myself and students responsible for them; providing students with thorough and detailed PowerPoints filled comments, scaffolded instructions, videos, and illustrations just to name a few; and offering a zoom meeting 3 hours per day for students to ask questions and get help. The area of growth was definitely face-to-face interaction. My students rarely participated in the live zoom meeting I invited them based on the results of their performance. Luckily, this will be easier for me to improve since students are allowed to go back to school in September.

As one of the small number of fortunate teachers in ISB, I can have lessons in school with my students who are in Beijing. Below is the image for the online and blended learning plan for the first cycle of this school year.

I see my math students every other day of the 8-day cycle and there are not that much of time for math content learning since I plan to spend two classes to know them, help them set up the accounts for online resources (Khan Academy, Learnzillon, and Desmos etc.), and establish the class learning environment.

To better incorporate online learning, blended learning, and personalized learning, I plan to

-organize DX clearly as recommended by school so students can navigate it easily

-plan my teaching and assessments using the cycle planner and follow it closely

-use Kahoot and Mentimeter more often this year to assess students’ understanding quickly

-post short direct instructional videos for students who are not in Beijing to use as well as students in Beijing who need to review what we covered in class

Using the 5Cs of Online Learning, I may set “clarify” and “captivate” as my goals in anticipation of future online instruction. I am confident that my plan listed above will help me achieve my goals.


Updated Goals for 2019-2020

Originally, I wanted to work on my Classroom Management and Care. But after my meeting with Jon and saw the students’ survey result, I decided to work on Care (Major Goal) and Consolidate(Minor Goal). Attached is the image of my Tripod Report for 2019 Fall.

Detailed Survey Items for Care:

As came up during my meeting with Jon, this is an area that is really hard to improve as we only get limited time to see each student and we have many activities we plan to finish each class. However, I still want to work on this “C”. Maybe it will turn out to be disappointed at the end, at least I tried. Maybe the students just did not realize, but I know I made some difference in some students. There are some good reflection questions and sample strategies the Tripod Guide provides us and I am intent to use them to guide my practices. Reflection Questions -Sample Strategies (Care) 

In addition, on my exit ticket I will have a few questions ask students how they feel about the class of that day.


Detailed Survey Items for Consolidation:

As for this “C”, I will only focus on the first item. However, I want to manipulate it a little bit, the exit ticket already serves the purpose of students’ understanding of the current day’s lesson. So I will use this summarize (Think-Pair-Share) at the beginning of the class after as a bridge for students to connect the two classes’ concepts.

Professional Growth Goal for 2019-2020 School Year

My Professional Growth Goal for 2019-2020 school year are care and classroom management. As an educator, I believe that I have many strategies and ideas to teach students my content well. But too often, my mind was majorly focused on my content, I spent more time caring about students’ academic well-being not enough on their emotional well-being. This year I would like to spend time to show more interest in the extracurricular activities of my students and their home life. With our MS mentoring program, I hope I can apply what I learned in the program to more students.

Another big area I need to improve is classroom management. This one was my goal for last year and the years before. I normally establish my class expectations and routines for student behavior at the beginning of each school year but I have trouble adhere to the rules. In order to value students’ thoughts and ideas, and grasp teaching moments, I frequently lack time in class, so I put my focus on the content and did not respond appropriately and consistently to negative class behaviors. This year, I will work very hard to remind myself that “less is more” when I plan my lessons and spent more time on preventative strategies.

2018-2019 Professional Growth Goal Reflection

I originally chose consolidation as my professional growth goal for the 2018-2019 school year but after I reviewed the students’ October survey, I decided to work on my classroom management as well. So my professional growth goal for 2018-2019 school year was set to improve consolidate and classroom management. From the students’ April survey and another survey which I created, I am confident to say that I met my professional growth goal on consolidation but not on classroom management.

I was quite pleased to see my survey results in October, but I was surprised when I looked at the April survey. The April result showed that my scores decreased for every category no matter if they were personal, curriculum, or academic. I could not believe that I did not improve on anything given the amount of hard work I put in, so I started to wonder what might contribute to that. After some thoughts, other than somethings I could do differently, I realized that the environment which I asked my class to take the surveys were very different and that may very much caused some of the items scored lower than October’s survey. In October, I explained to students the purpose of conducting this survey and showed them what each of the “C” stands for, then gave them ample amount of time to take the survey in a math class (this took about 40 minutes). Whereas in April, I was running out of time, I just asked them to take the survey during a 5 minutes homeroom time on top of retaking their Pingyao Activities survey.

With the purpose of finding out the authenticity of the April survey as well as asking students for their opinions on how I should improve in these areas as a professional, I created another survey which students took 20-30 minutes to complete after I shared my result with them. From this survey, 33% of the students strongly agree 43% of the students agree, and 24% of the students somewhat agree the time has affected their survey results.

Other than classroom management, students gave me many reasons why I either improved or remained the same for the 6 “C” with some suggestions how I may further improve them. For example, students think I encourage and value their ideas and views by urging them to go to the board to share their work and participate in group activities, by respecting their ideas/views even when they are wrong, by being open to all different problem-solving methods just to name a few. However, they are also very helpful by giving me some ideas on how to improve this area. Two of the ideas I could consider for next year are to give more encouragement to students who do not like to speak in class to speak and only display answer keys for formative and summative assessments instead of exemplar students’ work because some students “might get less encouraged by their ideas because they tend to lose self-confidence when looking at exemplary works”.

As a math teacher, I am really thrilling to see the message from one of my students who already learned math concepts that are much higher than Algebra I herself. It not just reassures what I am doing is right, it also really reflects the MS math program is preparing our students better for their higher math classes. Below is the feedback she gave me back for consolidation:

As for classroom management, many students think, even though stricter classroom rules and other strategies helped improve the classroom learning environment designed to reduce unnecessary walking in the classroom, less distractions caused by horseplaying or chatting, our class was still distracted by one or two of the same students, so they rated the classroom management lower than October. Students think I gave too much attention to those one or two students and is not fair to the rest of the class. Many times, I stopped the class to correct their behavior. One of the suggestion students gave me is to not pay attention to them.

To improve the classroom management next school year, I still need to hold my expectation high for each student. I must stick to the behavior procedure more strictly and follow through the consequence for distracting classroom behaviors.

Reflection on Students’ First Survey

The students in the class of my choice took their first Tripod Survey on the Oct. 19th and I analyzed the result soon after it came out carefully. Even though there are few survey questions doesn’t make any sense because of the wording, I was glad to see my students’ honest opinions on my teaching.  Based on my students’ survey result, I decided to change my initial goal which was focusing on “Consolidate” to “Classroom Management”-fostering an orderly, respectful, and on-task classroom behavior.

Among all the 7 Cs,  I only have one area- “Class Management”- is scored below 300.  This was a surprise for me. I have always been trying to create a safe class environment which encourages students to share their thinking and evaluate and critique others’ mathematical reasonings. Although some aspects of the class environment seem successful established based on the high score I got for “Confer”,  there are much more I need to improve. I especially need to think about how to improve the three subareas of “Class Management”:

#1: Student behavior in this class is under control

#2: Student behavior in this class is a problem

#5: Student behavior in this class makes the teacher angry

I  reflected on my own classroom management strategies and concluded that I was placing too much stress on the content and not enough attention on class norms such as getting permission before walk out their seats and raise hands to answer questions.  When the second trimester started, I shared my results with all my students and then took some actions to improve my classroom management.

  1. I showed students a portion of a video on class expectation to help them understand why class rules and expectations are necessary
  2. Put the posters of classroom rules and expectations in front of our classroom to remind students appropriate classroom behavior at all times
  3. Placed a basket that contains necessary stationary in each table group to reduce random movement during class
  4. Assigned a leader (the leadership rotates for each 8 day cycle) in each group to in charge of the group’s stationary basket and oversees their group members’ behavior


My Professional Goal- Consolidate

After a close look at the definitions and reflection questions of the Tripod’s 7Cs framework of effective teaching, I am eager to improve all of the 7Cs in my teaching. However, to make a manageable goal, I decided to focus my professional growth goal for 2018-2019 school year on Consolidate. Due to the nature of ISB’s math program, I normally design my lessons in hope of teaching and incorporating as many standards (math contents and math practices) in each lesson as possible. This sometimes obscures the goal of the lessons. I hope by having Consolidate as my goal, I can help students clearly understand and reflect on what they learned in each class.


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!

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