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Saturday, June 17, 2017

How Do You Rate Yourself As An Educator?

We have a rating system in our schools, but what truly matters to me is how I rate myself with regard to teaching and learning. Like all teachers, I want to do the best I can by my young students.

In this light, I can tell you that I am never completely satisfied as I always can see more and better ways to do the job. Teaching is a limitless job.

Yet, as I look over the past year, I'm proud of a number of actions the grade-level team and I led including the following:
  • Completion of signature, inclusive learning events including the fifth grade performance and biography presentation.
  • Teaching all math/ELA/science standards and the fact that all students completed the Symphony Math benchmark.
  • Good growth in math and ELA.
  • Greater attention to cultural proficiency, SEL, growth mindset, and general positivity throughout the curriculum thus creating a positive, collaborative grade-level team.
  • Terrific field trips.
  • Significant attention to specific student needs and interests.
If I had to do the year over, I'd look for ways to include greater STEAM teaching throughout the year since we simply ran out of time for the depth and reach with this that I hoped for. We'll work to plan this differently next year.

Next year I will rate myself on the following criteria:
  • Greater depth, hands-on exploration, student-ownership, and achievement in math. This year was good, and I want next year to be even better. The way I will achieve this is to be more explicit with regard to unit role out--more explicit with the goals, activities/response and assessments.
  • Greater depth and breadth with science and STEAM teaching--we'll schedule this differently with the goal being that we want to teach all of the new and old standards with depth. This will be a team effort that will start with careful planning at the start of the year. 
  • Continued wonderful relationship building and learning experiences, cultural proficiency, SEL, growth mindset and general positivity with colleagues, family members, and most importantly, students. This will be both a team effort and an individual effort. With regard to the team, we'll work together to foster better orientations to help all students and families become part of our active TeamFive learners/teachers. Individually, I am going to carefully look at the way I contribute by signing on to and supporting work that I am enthusiastic about and willing to contribute to with care. 
How will I reach these goals?
  • Summer study related to math teaching and learning--lots of reading, revising unit roll-outs, revising homework assignments/expectations, re-looking at related field experiences, adding signature project/problem-based learning events. I will read The Joy of X, YouCubed website, and a number of other articles I've put aside to boost this study. 
  • Careful attention to unit roll-out during the school year including the following in each unit:
    • explicit attention to unit learning/teaching goals
    • introductory floor-to-ceiling explorations
    • at-home problem solving/math writing/reflection
    • online practice
    • team project/problem work
    • math talk/debate/presentation
    • individual/small group coaching
    • assessment
  • Continued study and reading about cultural proficiency, SEL, growth mindset and relationship building. Working with colleagues to design and implement a student orientation as well as include SEL, cultural proficiency, and growth mindset in lessons. Using books such as Emdin's What White Teachers, Integrating SEL into the Academic Program (a book I co-authored), Mindset, and Between the World and Me will lend research and good ideas to these goals. 
  • Meet and work with colleagues over the summer to develop the teaching/learning map, agenda, and focus for the year. 
I keep writing about the goals and giving them shape. Once school ends, I'll have the time needed to reach in for the kind of study that will help me to reach the goals I've set.