self-evaluation 2015

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It's the end of the school year, so time to look back and look forward.
(For the record, these are the same questions I ask my students in their self-evaluation.)

What's gone well
Leadership & collaboration: We had some success in our subject area with the integration of media studies as language topics, and the emphasis on choice and individualisation of curriculum; while I have not generally loved collaboration, I did enjoy this process and saw the benefit to the students.

IBDP Film launch: I started a new course this year that went rather well, partially because I was transparent with my students and included them in the planning and reflection aspects of setting up the course.

Assessments: I have continued the process of varying the types of assessments students do, having them produce texts to benefit each other and more process-oriented assessments, allowing them to develop more specific skills.

Advisory: As an advisory teacher for year 11s (DP year 1), I I was able to push some initiatives in response to students' specific needs, including a mentoring program between classes, which we will develop next year to be a permanent part of the transition between grades 10, 11 and 12.

What was challenging
Accessibility: I have always known that some students are a little afraid of me. I'm not a mean person, but I am a large man with a loud voice and strong opinions, and I have used that perception as a scary guy as part of my teaching toolbox. However, it has hit home this year that a few students' fears have gotten in the way of me being as effective as I could be with them individually. I need to address that.

Teaching the concept of concepts: I should post on this separately, but my basic mode of teaching (especially language and film units) is to give students texts, ask them to develop concepts based on those examples and apply those concepts to their own experiences, interests and curiosity. They have trouble developing those concepts independently, and out of impatience and frustration, I often just give them a concept which they dutifully copy in their notes. The problem is that they haven't internalised them as the produce their own work. Anyway, that was a problem I noticed more this year.

Goals for next year
Accessibility: I need to have a think about this, but I need to make myself more accessible to both students and other staff members.

Concepts: I need some specific lessons on concepts for the first week of school that we can refer back to throughout the year.

Inquiry in decision making: As I've given students more choice, I've noticed they sometimes make really bad choices. I need to look at how to use inquiry cycles and the like to help students make better choices.

Making the 'workshop classroom more effective: Because my students all have laptops, my class is often a self-directed workshop, where students can work on assessments and use me as a resource. Right now it's fairly unstructured, and so it works very well for independent learners: I worry that students with less-developed learning skills languish and don't get pushed enough. I want to work on this, putting in some mechanisms to formalise more individualised learning.

Blogging and Tweeting: I'm frustrated by educators on social media: they tend to talk theory and share articles, but they don't do enough sharing about what is happening in their classrooms. I want to shift that in my own small way. #whatididinclasstoday is too long, and I need to find a better hashtag. But I definitely want to be doing tweet-worthy stuff in class.

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