Tag: learn

Student Feedback

Last year, in the last week of school I had my classes write a report on my performance for the year. I like to get students feedback about what their favourite topics or lessons were and if there is anything they think I can do to improve my performance as a teacher. In the rush of the years end, I only really glanced at them and today as I was moving into my new office I came across the pile and read them.

There were lots of heartwarming and positive feedback, which was lovely. Some kids wrote some really funny things and alluded to jokes we’d made throughout the year, which was fun too. It was great to hear the lessons they’d really enjoyed and the skills they felt they’d mastered this year.

Many of the SOSE students felt they’d learnt to appreciate how fortunate we are and not to take their lives for granted when we studied ‘Poverty’. Some of my Year 9 English students thanked me for giving them an appreciation of reading, and said they loved it now because I ’always harped on about’ great books, so that was really encouraging. There were lots of individual responses that were interesting and most enjoyed the variety of learning activities. 

The learning feedback I got was that I need to be quiet more. Quite a few kids wrote that I was great at getting the class to work quietly or read quietly in wider reading and then I tended to talk and spoil the space. Some students found that annoying and distracting. I know I do that. I will get them all settled into their reading and then when it is all quiet and peaceful, I will remember something I forgot to tell them and impatiently blurt it out.

Quite a few of them mentioned I go off track easily, some found this a positive trait and others were critical of it. I do this. I think I have improved a bit though, I remember one year, students would frequently raise issues about the environment or media, which would lead to a big discussion or rant from me and they used it as a tool for ‘getting out of work’. I took a while to realise I reacted in predictable ways to issues that I am passionate about. Predictable reactions can be deadly in the classroom.

The other criticisms and complaints were poor spelling, not paying enough attention to quieter students, lateness to class and swearing occasionally. Most students put their names on the report, which was optional.

I felt the feedback was fair and accurate and I am going to list the areas for improvement and pin it up where I can see it this year so I remember to watch my progress in these areas. I felt it was a really good process to use with students and I think I will do it at the end of each semester from now on.

Massage Reflections

Tonight I had my last massage for 2007. It was lovely. This morning in the staff room, many teachers were complaining of sore backs and shoulders from long hours hunched over the computer, writing reports. I went to the chiropractor last night. Two other teachers had been there before me. I feel great, even though I had a pretty busy and demanding day.

I was chatting to the masseur tonight about the many courses I have done in my life. I love learning new things and she does too. She was commenting on how people sometimes think you are crazy to be learning all the time or doing more courses. I have usually done some kind of study at most times of my life. Even when I am not formally attending a school, I have been focused on learning some new skill or practising something new.

Blogging would be in that category. I don’t know everything there is to know about blogging, but I know enough to do it to the level I want to, with ease. I expect to learn more over time, yet at a more gradual pace now. One of my friends commented to me last night, after checking out my blog that I must put a lot of time into it. I have in the past, yet I don’t really now. I would spend around half an hour on a post usually. Occasionally I spend a couple of hours when I want to rearrange or shuffle things about, or have something I really want to write properly about.

What’s the connection between massaging, blogging and learning? Well I realised today that I do all that learning to make the things I want to do quicker and easier. Short term pain, long term gain. I think you are crazy if you don’t try to make your life easier and more effective! Learning is the fastest route I know of.

Restorative Justice

Tonight we had a speaker talk to us about ‘Restorative Justice’. Terry O’Connell came to our school to run a session and it was a bit of a shame that only about a quarter of the teachers attended, because it was brilliant. I totally agree with most of what he said and I can’t wait to explain it to my students and practise it with next year. I am going to be one of the year 9 co-coordinators next year.

The result of the no compromise situation, I ended up getting the position I wanted!

The power of restorative justice, I feel is that it is relationship building. It also gives all involved to have a learning experience. This is the kind of environment I want to work in and belong to. Read the article in the link about Terry because it outlines more about what this system is about. It works equally in all relationships I imagine and I had a play with it tonight with my son over a small situation and found the questions very satisfying and the outcome pleasing.

I have learnt more in the last three days than I have in a long time. My brain feels very satisfied! It’s wonderful when you have highly productive learning experiences. A great high for me and rare too! Often it can be tedious and hard to get through, yet both courses I have attended were really interesting and useful.

I didn’t get home from work until late and have mounds of corrections so I am beginning to feel a little under the hammer.