This week I have been thinking a lot about the evaluation process that teachers have to go through and have also experienced my own forms of evaluation. I chose this picture because I thought it was a funny way to express how a lot of teachers feel about the SOL test and the pressure they must place on their students. My CT is sort of getting to the point in the year where she’s stressing about SOLs and it has been helpful to talk with her about what the expectations are and how she prepares her students. It’s a hard time of the year because these teachers have had a lot of snow days and are behind in the curriculum, but also feel the need to review and prepare their students for the SOLs. I sometimes feel that there is too much pressure placed on students and teachers and it’s hard to juggle everything at once. As I am planning my lessons, I have tried to think of warm-ups or other activities to incorporate that review for the SOLs while still continuing to teach the material we are doing in our unit. It is a balancing act, and I am hoping to get better at it and learn skills and strategies for when I am a teacher next year.
This week I also completed an analysis on my student surveys and was able to reflect on some of the things I need to improve on. A few of the things that I need to improve on include assuring students that I am available before or after school to help them and connecting lessons to the real world. I am definitely thinking of ways that I can bring in current events or real world connections and I think the students will really enjoy that. Some of my students are pretty unaware of current events so this will also just help them become active members of their community and maybe spark their interest.
One other thing that my CT and I have talked about that I need to improve on is giving clear and concise directions. A lot of times when I’m thinking of activities for the students, I feel that I am being clear and have an idea of what I’m looking for. However, usually 7th graders need more direction. If I don’t provide directions the students will turn work in that isn’t complete for my standards or isn’t done correctly. I am working on creating checklists for group activities, or rubrics, to ensure that students understand what they should be doing.
As I move forward, I will keep these suggestions and evaluations in mind and improve my instruction accordingly. I feel that this week has been very reflective and helpful. As spring break approaches, I hope to have time to reflect and revise my planning.