I thought for this week’s reflection I would share my teacher self-evaluation that’s due next week. Quick recap of how things were going in class though:
END OF YEAR REVIEW IDEA
To help my students study for the final, I didn’t really want to create a review sheet so instead I gave them access to all of the quizzes, tests, and reassessments I’ve made this semester. I made a folder for each unit and put all the assessments (with answer keys) in those folders and then shared those folders with students and parents on our class website. Got some positive feedback from parents about it. A few of my classes felt a little overwhelmed and asked if I could make a more concise review sheet. I may do that for my 6th graders. I also asked them how they would like to spend next week reviewing for the finals. They gave me ideas (Jeopardy, Quizlet Live, some independent study time, possible checklists of learning objectives to keep track of what they’ve studied, etc). I’ll probably reflect on how that stuff goes at the end of next week.
Onto my teacher self-evaluation. We were given a few questions to reflect on as it pertains to our strengths and areas in need of growth.
In what ways did you learn and grow over the course of the year?
I feel my areas of growth this year were in consistent reflection of my practice. I wrote a reflection blog every week this school year, sharing what worked and what didn’t, and I hope it will serve as an excellent resource as I plan and revise my curriculum for next year. Starting in February I also began a weekly classroom vlog where I focused primarily on my robotics class but also vlogged some of my math lessons. Being that I wanted to make a video that was engaging and helpful to others, it forced me to think more critically about the lesson; I didn’t want it to just be ‘good enough.’
Additionally, my classroom economy was a lot more streamlined this year and didn’t take nearly as much time as last year, allowing me to get to some of the units that I wasn’t able to get to last year in both my math classes.
I also had what may have been my most engaged math class this year. It was a class of 12 students, most of which I had last year, who were totally on board with a growth mindset in math, openly sharing their mistakes and how they learned from them, and really engaged in the classroom discussions. This class could practically run on it’s own (and often did). I think it was a mix of the personalities, size, and history I had with the students to allowed for this kind of classroom dynamic.
In what ways did your work align with the school’s mission, the program, and your colleagues?
Our mission as a school is to be a community that falls in love with learning, realizes their profound beauty, and lives with courage and authenticity. I have strived to not only create a classroom where math is something engaging, exciting, and worth exploring, but also have worked to show my own love for learning. The videos I created and shared with students not only documented their learning but but also showed that I too was learning and reflecting on the craft of teaching.
Through my blogs and vlogs (both in my classroom as well as one video I did of a colleagues classroom), I shared both successes and struggles in hopes to have a candid voice that would be a help and encouragement to my colleagues and the wider educational community.
To what extent were you able to achieve your goals for the year?
I had one goal for each of the ‘5 attributes’ our school holds.
WELL-BEING : Get down to a healthy weight and stay active throughout the week
At the start of the year after some hearty vacationing, I weighed about 190. It was heaviest I had ever been. I had been fairly active the past couple of years, often running and lifting weights a few times a week, but not getting below 180. I changed up my diet starting in August and have dropped to about 160. I’ve maintained a goal this year to run 50 miles a month and am lifting 1-2 times a week. I feel the diet is sustainable (I have a cheat day every Saturday). I feel good.
ENVIRONMENTAL / CULTURAL AWARENESS : Talk to my mom in Spanish whenever I talk on the phone with her or go to San Antonio
I started off strong with this goal but it sort of tapered off. I don’t feel super confident in my Spanish and I feel I need to be in a situation where I don’t have any other option but to speak Spanish if I want to communicate. I feel like I sound dumb when I talk to her but she has always appreciated it when I did talk to her in Spanish.
SELF-GENERATED LEARNING: Read more fiction/non-fiction and continue to engage in podcasts on my commutes.
Haven’t read as much as I’d like but was on Book II of Harry Potter at the beginning of the year and now am on Book V. I haven’t really read much non-fiction either (with exception to a book on manly living and most of ‘How To Win Friends & Influence People’) but I listen to a TON of podcasts (such as The Tim Ferriss Show, The Art of Charm, Hidden Brain, The Dave Ramsey Show, EdChat Radio, and The MathEd Out Podcast among others) and have learned so much from them in terms of teaching, motivation, productivity, work ethic, and social skills.
SELF-EXPRESSION: Continue to blog every week and do voiceover work
I feel I have exceeded my goals in this regard, blogging and vlogging every week in addition to the voiceover work.
LEADERSHIP: Continue Tech Tip Tuesday and start another book club.
I did Tech Tip Tuesday for a majority of the year and got a lot of positive feedback from other teachers. They liked that it was just one thing that could decide if they could try out that week without feeling overwhelmed with resources. I wanted to start another book club but I just couldn’t find a book that I think had a wide appeal and would make for a good ‘book club’ book.
What changes/improvements do you want to make for next year?
I think my curriculum will be a lot more solid next year. There are some 6th grade stuff I did that I know I should just wait until 7th grade math, and there’s some 7th grade math that I was doing that they learn in Algebra 1. I’ll be able to cut that and actually get to the 7th grade units that I haven’t been able to get to these past two years.
As far as classroom economy, I think I’m going to have weekly check-ins on Mondays for various jobs. A lot of jobs have to happen outside of class but that leaves it on me to often remind students via email and then keep track of people who are getting those jobs done or not (like assistant grader or newsletter writer). Other jobs like fine officer have students write fines in class every couple of weeks, which often has to happen during independent work time so they end up having more homework than others. It’s a lot to keep track of and I need to come up with a checklist system where students come check in on Mondays and get their job done during lunch then.
I’d like to continue the weekly vlog but would like to do more math stuff and not just robotics. I’m hesitant because it’s pretty easy to make a robotics class look engaging; everyone’s working on stuff the whole time. Doing math vidoes will force me to think of at least one lesson that week that I really want to make awesome; clear learning objectives, high engagement, connections made, etc. We’ll see.
I also have connections with a math micro-school in Austin with some amazing inquiry-based teachers. I’d like to reach out to them at least once a month to talk about some upcoming lessons and how to make them awesome.
Oh and I’ll have a drone next year. I’m going to find a way to use that a lot 🙂
What do you anticipate doing over the next year to grow professionally?
Last summer I read a book on teaching in an inquiry-based style in math. This summer I plan on reading a book that focuses on how to structure classroom discussions to be as effective and meaningful as possible.
I’ll continue to connect with other educators through Twitter and YouTube, reflect weekly, and reach out to community members. I’ll also spend more time devoted to re-learning (or truly learning for the first time) some higher level math concepts that I haven’t work with since college.
What help or support would you like from the school?
Just continuing to provide teachers with ample planning periods. I feel immensely lucky and know that many teachers don’t have more than 45 minutes a day for planning. My schedule this year allowed me a couple hours at the start of the day, a few days a week, as well as an hour and a half at the end of most days. It really allows me to maintain an excellent work/life balance when I don’t have to bring much work home.
I think letting me know my schedule of what classes I’ll be teaching as soon as possible would be helpful. The last couple of years I taught 6th grade math, Pre-Algebra, and Robotics. This past year it seemed a bit up in the air on if I would have to teach a section of Algebra 1 or not until several weeks before school started (due to enrollment numbers). If I do have to teach it next year, I’d love to know as soon as possible to begin planning 🙂