Gress LessonYesterday I put together an end-of-year survey for my students. Instead of focusing on lots of questions on different aspects of my teaching, I simply asked students to grade me in the same way I grade them: a comment, an attainment score and an effort score. I also asked them to tell me their most and least favourite projects. The response was immediate, with 50 submissions in less than 12 hours (out of a possible 150 students). A quick scan of the data showed a good mix of positive feedback and things I could improve on. Some of these things I already knew, others were revealing.

I really want the kids to know that I am serious about becoming a better teacher, so I acted fast to analyse the data and make a list of things that will be changed come next year. These include the following:

  • My teaching style:
    • Talk less in class, giving students more time to work
    • Give students more time to explore ICT individually (this will most likely take the form of more free time at the end of lessons where students have focused well.
    • Give students more time to work outdoors (we can hold discussions on the lawn, and students can work spread around school).
  • Curriculum design:
    • Introduce a new, improved and less resstrictive visual assessment guide. There will be less self assessment (2x per year instead of 4), and a new chance for peer assessment once a year.
    • Instead of giving attainment grades, I will experiment with just saying whether students are: knowing, doing, understanding, judging or creating. The focus will be on being a better learner, and not obssessing about grades so much.
    • In Year 7 I will seek to make the Tools For Learning unit more interesting.
    • In Year 8 I will get rid of the High Tech Stuff assessment task, and try to make the year more hands on.
    • Year 9 – I will add in a unit on mobile app development, as many students enjoyed the Web Design 101 in Y8 this year and would like to learn more. However, for those who don’t like programming, there will be a choice to do an independent unit if there is something a student would rather learn.

Hopefully my students will see me modelling what I ask of them (try something, assess your performance, find ways to improve, follow through), and understand that I really do want to be a better teacher, and do myself what I expect of them. No one likes a hypocrite, right? In order to try and stick to these goals, I have added the curriculum ideas into my plan for next year, and created the poster below to remind me of what I need to be focusing on:

My Pledge 201415_web