Tag: reflect

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.

Scorpio New Moon Observations

I’m feeling quite contemplative today. I blame the Scorpio new moon. It’s good for all the writing I want to do though. I made a great start last night and met the quota I had set for myself. It’s all very crude though and I know it would need massive editing if I were to take it any further or expose it to another.

Secrets are being told. I have heard a couple these last few days. Surprising secrets, not the ones I’ve been avoiding.

I have to get a haircut. I had it cut only 5 weeks ago. The grey is more obvious so that needs attending to also! Short hair saves time on a daily basis, but I find I have to go to the hairdressers regularly. I am testing the theory that if you get your hair cut before the new moon, it grows slower. When I wanted to grow my hair long, I would get it cut as soon as possible after the new moon. I know how busy the next few weeks could be, so I am doing it now.