This is the formative walk-through I had in November. It showed that I needed to work on content in Chemistry which wasn’t a surprise to me. I had been moved from Special Education to Science teaching one class of Chemistry and four classes of Earth Systems in a trailer the day before school started. I hadn’t looked at Chemistry since my freshman year in college in the 70’s. I spent a lot of time reviewing Chemistry that year.
The walk-through said that I needed to gain more experience in Chemistry content. I worked with other teachers and looked at the classes available on the NSTA website to improve my understanding of the material.
My strengths as an educator are in presenting a variety of challenging materials in different formats to meet each students needs. I am able to explain a concept in many different ways and have no problems re-explaining material until a student understands it. I make myself available for extra help and can always provide materials to extend the lesson for those students that are interested in a specific topic.
I believe in teaching students how to become good researchers and show them how to determine the biases in what they see and read. I always ask them to look at both sides of an issue so they can decide for themselves where they stand. I also teach my students other skills they can use outside of the classroom. This past year I focused on mastering the use of google drives and the google suite of programs. Students learned to use their phones for more than snapchat and twitter. They learned how to use twitter to find out information and how to upload pictures to participate in citizen science projects. They found out what resources are available at the county, state, and national level that would be helpful outside of class.
I like getting feedback on what I’m doing that is working and what isn’t working. I’m always open to suggestions about new ways to present materials and new materials to present. I like working with other teachers so that we can collaborate and develop great lessons that pull in ideas that I wouldn’t think of on my own.
My biggest weakness is that I don’t enjoy doing formal reflections. I look at what I’ve done and make notes so that I can change a lesson the next time I teach it. I don’t like to write down formally what works and doesn’t work. This can be a problem if I haven’t taken good notes because I have nothing else to look back on. Part of this may be that I have never taught the same class two years in a row so I rarely need to go back and look at what I’ve done in the past. I’m always developing new content. I hope to teach the same subject at least for two years and would like to work on my reflections knowing that I will have a chance to use them again next year.
I also need to work more on consistency in introducing class policies to new students. I always start out well but by the end of the year there are some policies that I wish I had been more consistent about in the beginning. Some of this is due to class size and some of this is due to a change in focus by administration. My classes have very high turn over and I forget to go over all the policies regularly as new students join the class.