Tuesday, June 9, 2015

End of the year reflection

Another school year just ended, and I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on how it went ...

First, I'm glad I made it through.  Being back in the classroom after three years out was a lot harder than I thought it was, but as the second semester went on, I started to feel more like my old self.

Second, while I don't really regret anything I did, there are a number of things I will do differently next year.  (See my last post ...)  I also want to do a better job of catching and supporting kids who are running into trouble with the material.  I missed some important clues at the beginning of the year, and did not intervene as I should have.

Although some things could have been better, I am proud of a few things as well.  The end of year surveys indicated I did a good job of building a positive classroom climate.  Most students really appreciated my homework policy (no late penalties) and indicated that they completed at least as much if not more homework than they would have if there were late penalties, and learned more as well.  Most also said that they would not copy, or were less inclined to copy homework.  I am also proud of my students and the work they did.  While not everyone did as well as they wanted grade-wise, they were all excellent, exciting, and engaging human beings, and if I had some small part in helping them keep moving in that direction, then I have done good work.

Finally, I have several plans for next year.  First, I want to be more aware of and make better connections with my students, especially those who are struggling, early on in the school year.  I will make the time to call home and introduce myself to parents and family members within the first two weeks.  Also, this summer, I am working on integrating the Chromebooks into my lessons, and I hope in the fall to be able to create some online self-checks for students using Google Forms.  We'll see how that goes.  I also want to experiment with "standards-based" grading; more on that some other time ...

That's about it for now.  Summer School starts tomorrow, and I need to get ready!  I'm looking forward to meeting more new students!