Appraisal summary meeting

Today Chris and I sat down to review my year here at Orewa College. We referred to my job description and goals, and filled in the evidence form and final appraisal summary form. I went through my various blog posts from the year, to demonstrate which ones were aligned with the registered teaching criteria, of which I have kept a log.

I feel that I have managed to reach my goals this year (see chart below). I have gained a great sense of understanding about education from being here. It is enlightening to reflect on which parts of teaching I may have taken for granted, or felt frustrated by or assumed were present everywhere. It is truly wonderful to see how a different English department operates and how these differences can improve my own appreciation and understanding of teaching as a whole.

 Goal 1 Use student evaluations to inform shared teaching

·         Got 4 classes to complete evaluations on SBC/HRY at the end of term 2

·         Made adjustments to teaching based on this feedback, e.g. consistent approach to paragraph writing, continuation of ‘Lunch Club’ for Year 12 etc.

 Goal 2  Utilise past management unit experience and teaching knowledge in the classroom

·         Level 2 NCEA moderation and marking – set up ‘Lunch Club’ to help struggling students, wrote additional resources to assist with Wide Reading standard, created revision resources for Written Text

·         Year 9 MU – created end of year unit with HRY

·         Level 1 NCEA moderation – create of additional essay writing resources

·         Delivered PD session on student-lead learning

 Goal 3  Te Reo in the classroom

·         Undertaking personal PD course through Whitireia

·         Day, date, learning aims and lesson plan in Te Reo on the board

·         Greetings, praise and encouragement verbally in Te Reo

·         Acknowledging manaaki/ako taking place in the lessons

Goal 4 Get involved in extracurricular activities

·         Front of house – Much Ado About Nothing

·         Yr 10 activity day – paddle boarding

·         Oral Skills course – with Cheryl Anderton

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Feedback PD session

feedback-pdLast week Phil delivered an interesting PD session focusing on the importance of feedback. He began with a fun analogy of aligning the effectiveness of school systems with a regular sized spanner and then aligning the effectiveness of feedback with a huge crescent spanner that was difficult to lift. This promoted some discussion over acknowledging how important it is that we give meaningful feedback.

He then asked us to prioritise various elements of feedback from most to least important. I decided that feedback needed to be prompt (for students to make connections to their work and show their worked is valued), precise/specific (to be useful), individualised (so the student can apply it effectively) and positive (to encourage them to have another go). I also made the point of adding ‘written’ on to the list as, while verbal feedback and encouragement is good, it is important that students can take away the specific instructions to use after the lesson has concluded.

I really enjoyed the content of this session, as well as the celebration of the department’s relationship with Phil through each staff member dressing in his signature style! This showed great collegiality and honoured Phil’s light-hearted approach to meetings and the importance of positivity.

 

Year 9 – final unit of the year

movie-posterHunt for the Wilderpeople unit

In the recent school holidays, Thalia and I met to plan for term 4 and we discussed the difficulties I had been experiencing with one of the year 9 classes. In my last post I commented on the improvements I had seen in the behaviour of this class and I’d like to build on this with a really fun and engaging final unit. It can be a challenge to keep a class focused after exams, so it is really important to provide them with an interesting (as well as academic) unit to work through.

Earlier this year the class studied the Whale Rider film as their visual text study. To build on this, I came up with the idea of showing the class Hunt for the Widlerpeople to extent their knowledge of the NZ film industry. My ideas for the unit so far include:

  • Initial brainstorm on NZ film genre – types of characters, portrayal of NZ, use of music, NZ slang etc. Pick a few ideas from this and get students to make up a chart.
  • Watch the film and fill in the chart with any examples that comply with our NZ film ideas
  • ‘The film and me’ – personal response activity
  • ‘The film and NZ’ – comparative chart of examples of NZ film genre from Wilderpeople as well as Whale Rider. Students could use shots from the film to make it a visual activity
  • ‘The film and the wider world’ – Year 9 Orange presents the ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ movie premiere! Divide class into groups and assign each group with a task to set up the movie premiere. E.g. movie posters (3 designs, each for a different type of audience), venue/date/event run sheet, list of famous people to invite and design the invitation, create the ultimate movie premiere goodie bag, social media promotions, competitions to win invitations to event, interviews with director/actors, movie reviews for the local papers etc…
  • Final lesson – groups ‘pitch’ their event contributions to the rest of the class then we have a little class party…

In my experience, offering a variety of activities and allowing the students to choose their group and activity results in a higher level of engagement and a sense of intrinsic motivation. This class is also quite social and will be extrinsically motivated by the class ‘premiere’ party at the end of term. While I would normally do a student-lead unit allowing total free reign, because of the struggles I had in term 3, I think this unit allows for a little more control but still incorporating student choice.

GOAL #3: utilise past experience in teaching in the classroom.

Year 9 – revisited

Last term I posted about a PD session where I decided to adopt Smyth’s model of Describe, Inform, Confront and Reconstruct (1993) to reflect on the trouble I have been experiencing in my shared year 9 English class. After putting some strategies into place, I can now follow up on that post with some extended reflection:

Describe: Last term I wrote that “I have been experiencing ongoing difficulties with this class. Individually they seem like nice students who respond to one-on-one help and guidance, but as a group they are really hard to manage. They call out, mess around, get off task, misuse their devices and distract each other. This is reflected in their work, which is slow to be completed and done to a low standard. There are exceptions to this with a few students who work well, but they are overshadowed by the rest of the class. Often I spent most of the lessons wrangling poor behaviour and keeping them on task, rather than focusing on their learning”. I am thrilled to report that there has been a significant turn around in the class’ overall behaviour. A few students are still pushing the boundaries a little, but they are quick to toe the line when I ask them to. Most of the class are settling down to work quickly and they are more focused and engaged in the learning. I adopted my colleagues idea of 10 minutes silent reading to get the class calm and focused. This has worked a treat and has the added bonus of integrating personal reading into each lesson! I have also kept to a lesson routine – silent reading, minimal teacher instruction, quiet individual work then class feedback/discussions and finally some pair/group work. This has created a balance of tasks (between focused/intensive work and the more social tasks that the class likes) as well as a simple routine for the class to follow. They don’t mind working hard (and quietly!) as they know they’ll get to talk and discuss and work together later. I also wrote the timing of the lesson on the board and maintained my expectation that they close their devices during discussions.

Inform: I thought that “Part of this issue may be a simple result of two things; their age and the fact that I only see them every second Wednesday”. While these may have been contributing factors, by adjusting my classroom routines and practice I have managed to help them improve. This has made me realise that I shouldn’t have been excusing their behaviour or my difficulty keeping control on things that I couldn’t possibly control or change. Instead, by deciding to take ownership of the issue, I was able to do something about it.

Confront: This has definitely reminded me to always go back to the notion of operating “above the line”. Rather than making excuses or blaming external/uncontrollable factors, I need to take responsibility for the behaviour of the class and continue to challenge myself to come up with ways to improve the effectiveness of my teaching.

Reconstruct: I am definitely going to keep up the clear and rigid routine within each lesson. This has allowed me to relax what had become a very strict teaching style. I no longer need to be this controlling as the expectations of the lessons are helping us to work along nicely!

GOAL #3: utilise past experience in teaching in the classroom.

 

Year 9 – term 3 week 7

This morning Kayleigh delivered an interesting PD session on blogging practice, and I have decided to adopt Smyth’s model of Describe, Inform, Confront and Reconstruct (1993) to reflect on the trouble I have been experiencing in my shared year 9 English class.

Term 3 week 7
Describe: I have been experiencing ongoing difficulties with this class. Individually they seem like nice students who respond to one-on-one help and guidance, but as a group they are really hard to manage. They call out, mess around, get off task, misuse their devices and distract each other. This is reflected in their work, which is slow to be completed and done to a low standard. There are exceptions to this with a few students who work well, but they are overshadowed by the rest of the class. Often I spent most of the lessons wrangling poor behaviour and keeping them on task, rather than focusing on their learning.
Inform: Part of this issue may be a simple result of two things; their age and the fact that I only see them every second Wednesday. I feel that it has been difficult to build up a strong relationship with them and I suspect that my classroom management methods differ from their regular teacher. They possibly see me as a reliever and someone who cannot follow through with consequences because I’m not there the next time they have English.
Confront: One reason I am finding this so stressful is that I haven’t confronted this issue in quite some time. I have been teaching since 2008 and while I have had my fair share of difficult classes, I thought I had developed enough skills and strategies to manage any classroom effectively. I am also really disappointed in myself for having to spend the majority of my time on classroom management, leaving little time for effective teaching and learning to take place. I have also had to resort to being very strict and controlling of the class to ensure acceptable behaviour and to get through the work. This is definitely not my usual teaching style, so I’m finding that I’m ending the lessons with this class feeling quite deflated.
Reconstruct: After the most recent lesson I contacted the teacher who has them most of the time to ask abut her experience with them. While she hasn’t had as much trouble, she has decided to introduce 10 minutes of silent reading to start each lesson. I am going to adopt this practice to maintain consistency for the students, as well as a clear lesson structure (with timings) on the board. I am going to stick to my expectation that they close their devices during any instructions or class discussion to ensure that they are focused. I’ll see how the next lesson goes, and hopefully I will see an improvement.
GOAL #3: utilise past experience in teaching in the classroom.

Resource sharing – The Hobbit

One thing that I really enjoy doing is sharing ideas for texts and resources from units of work. A teacher was looking for new junior texts to teach where she would let students select from a range of novels. This involved setting up resources for each novel so that the class could look at multiple texts at the same time. I suggested one of my favourite texts – The Hobbit.

After some communication with the teacher I sent off my unit of work on The Hobbit, which included the resources shown above. I believe that pooling our ideas and sharing our resources benefits not only other teachers, but the students as well. In exchange, the teacher has offered to share some resources on senior short texts. In particular, the work of Owen Marshall. One of my goals this year has been to increase my use of NZ texts, so I am keen to see what information will be coming my way.

GOAL #3 – utilise past experience in teaching and curriculum leadership in the classroom.

 

 

 

Te Reo workshop

GOAL #2: use Te Reo more frequently in class and with more confidence.

My children and I attend Playcentre twice a week and one of the opportunities here is for me to partake in classes regarding the education of our tamariki. Earlier this year I signed up for Course 2 which included a workshop for including Te Reo in a teaching environment. I had been looking forward to this workshop as, even though the course is aim at early childhood education, I felt that what I learned could be applied to my classroom teaching.

The workshop covered common words and phrases that can be easily worked into a teaching and learning session, as well as some songs and rhymes. What I found really helpful was the emphasis on teaching correct pronunciation of Maori words. I have really struggled in this area because, even though I know the correct way to pronounce most words, I’m too shy to do this properly as many people pronounce things differently. If a name like Orewa is often mispronounced; with many people saying “Oh” instead of “Or”, “ree” instead of “rey” and neglecting to roll the ‘r’.

This workshop really helped my confidence and I have already noticed the difference. At Playcentre I’m now always referring to ‘tamariki’ and asking them to ‘homai rima’ and at school I’m happy greeting students with ‘morena’ or ‘kia ora’ (among other words and phrases).

This workshop was invaluable for improving my use of Te Reo in the classroom and in everyday life.

Student evaluations – term 2

GOAL #1: use student evaluations to reflect on and improve shared teaching.

eval pileAt the end of term 2 I surveyed the three senior classes in an effort to check how our shared teaching had been going. I wanted to make sure that the students were enjoying themselves and that they felt like they were learning. I also wanting to give them an anonymous opportunity to make suggestions for improvement.

I asked students to write their responses to four questions:

  1. List any differences in HRY and SBC’s teaching styles.
  2. What are you finding enjoyable?
  3. What do you find difficult?
  4. Any improvements for term 3.

I then collated their responses and typed them  up into a document which I shared with Thalia. There were many positive statements from the students, including; “I like the variety of teaching styles”, “it is refreshing to have different teacher”, “we get lots of help”, “I like the critical thinking” and “I enjoy the shared teaching”.

Some suggestions for improvement included; “some students don’t contribute to class conversations”, “some people don’t do much work”, “more essay practice” and “I would prefer to have the other teacher more than once a week”. This has given Thalia and I some things to work on for term 3.

 

 

One girl in year 11 named her answers because she said she really wanted more help and felt quite lost but was too shy to ask for help in class. Because of this, I now spend more time assisting her when I walk around the class and I have spent time with her at lunch.

Overall, the evaluations have really helped us to make sure we are both meeting the needs of the students while sharing these classes.

Te Reo in the classroom

GOAL #2: use Te Reo more frequently in class and with more confidence.

So far I have included Te Reo in class through greetings and basic words and phrases. I have also made sure to write on the board using Te Reo wherever possible.

The course I am doing at home is definitely helping with my pronunciation as well as ideas on which words and phrases might be suitable for in the classroom.

This is definitely a work in progress!

Teaching resources

GOAL #3 – utilise past experience in teaching and curriculum leadership in the classroom.

SO far this year I have contributed to the teaching and resources for each of the classes I share with Thalia. Depending on the course and unit of work, sometimes this is just through simple activities and lessons I have used before and others I have developed more extensive resources. One class in particular is 1ENGL in regards to their writing  and exam preparation:

I have also been more involved with 2ENRW where I have:

I really feel like I have contributed to the teaching of this particular standard. I also set up google docs for each of the students I am marking (Thalia and I divided the class in half) and attending the 2.9 marking meeting.

One thing I brought from my previous school is the idea of Lunch Club. This is really just a positive way of labeling lunchtimes where students can get one-on-one help with me. I make myself available every Wednesday lunch time for any students who are struggling or falling behind. At times, I “invite” students to attend. Again, this is just a positive way of phrasing a mandatory lunch session! I have found this to be really successful. Occasionally a student will fail to turn up but in general, it has allowed me to really help those in the class who are feeling a bit overwhelmed with the work and the workload this year.