A year ago I started this blog with an aim to improve my reflective teaching practice. I set myself some aims, explained how I was going to complete them and shared them with the world to give myself some accountability.
Here’s the question: Did I manage do upkeep all of my new teaching year resolutions?
Of course not! But there were some successes.
Here were my aims:
- Up-to-date marking and feedback: this was a partial success. My aim was to do more ‘smart marking’ and up the amount of in-class ticking I do. (Here’s the original post!) Indeed, I did manage to keep on top of most of my marking, although it was certainly a struggle (especially when I had 180 experiment reports handed in during that memorable fortnight in October). There were a few homework sheets which had to get lost in the marking pile so I could keep my sanity but I don’t feel guilty about that. You do what you have to do in this job! I did do more in-lesson ticking which I am proud of and aim to continue.
- Homework only on sheets: (Here’s the original post!) TICK! This was great and something which I will repeat this year. The class books didn’t leave my room all year (except to revise for 2 tests). Not a single book was lost. Not a single minute was spent looking for them. I don’t even feel the environmental cost of this decision was bad: yes, every week 60 sheets of paper were sent home for homework. However, many of the homework would have an instruction sheet issued regardless. My pupils filled their class books this year, but would have moved onto a second new book and only filled 10-15 pages if their homework was completed in their class books. Therefore, I can justify the fact that so much work was on paper. Win.
- Homework monitoring: (Here’s the original post!) Sadly this tapered off towards the end of the first term. I had a system where a pupil would collect the work and tick off a grid on the front of the collection folder. I would then mark them, adding effort grades. I’m not quite sure where it went wrong. It started well and certainly worked! It was easy to see where homework was missing and chase it during class. I think my homework collectors (the Science Monitors) were slack, and I was slack in monitoring them. I will add this to next years aims to keep closer tabs on my Science Monitors!
- Minimising Low Level Disruption: Mixed output on this one. My aim was to minimise this by removing the time when it most often occurred (during questioning) and to enforce an escalating sanction system. (Here’s the original post!) I successfully got rid of the ‘show off’ kids who monopolised my time and bored everyone else stiff by simply refusing to listen to their stories in front of the group. Win. I got SO much more done in my lessons! It also reduced the other kids LLD time. Double win. Sadly, I wasn’t that great at enforcing the sanctions, so it remains difficult to prevent ‘off topic’ shout-outs and sub-conversations during teacher instruction (much to my frustration). I’ve never been great at this and it will be added to my aims for next year. One year I WILL crack it!
All in all, an average result I would say! I’m certainly not at the head of the teaching class but I’d like to think I’m not at the bottom. (It’s like I’m writing my own end of year report here!)
Here’s to next year folks! Stick with me.
Love, cuddles and death stares,