School is starting in ten minutes but the copy machine just beeped with satisfaction and ate your hand-out. Your team partner arrived at school, threw up in the bathroom and headed home, so now you are covering his first period coding class during your prep. The lesson you so carefully prepared on evaluating sources went well for your first block but left your second block unengaged. Your pear and blue cheese salad mysteriously disappeared from the staff room refrigerator before you arrived for first lunch at 10:48 AM. There was a department meeting after school, then you had to pick up your kids. If you can keep your eyes open long enough after dinner to finalize your plans for the next day, it’s a win.
You know you need time to reflect on your TPEP goals so that you can make progress toward meeting them, but what does that even look like in the midst of your teaching life? Maybe you can:
- Keep your goals in mind.
Don’t write your goals in the fall and blow the dust off them in the spring, hoping to find evidence that you did what you dimly remember saying you would do. Print out the TPTP poster http://tpep-wa.org/wp-content/uploads/TPEP_Infographic.pdf and put it on your classroom wall. Make a copy of your specific goals and keep them in a folder with a see-through cover on your desk. Paste a list of the topics in your set of instructional frameworks on the cover of your planbook.
- Notice and Analyze
When you are familiar with your goals and your instructional framework, you notice when you modify a lesson so that students working at a variety of levels will be successful, or remember to communicate to parents and students by posting your handouts on Schoology, or create a task checklist for a student struggling with appropriate behavior. And you pay attention to those times when you thought you clearly directed your students to use complete sentences when evaluating their classmate’s infographics during a gallery walk but then you find them using their rubric as a checklist instead. After those lessons when you can only be thankful that your evaluating administrator didn’t drop by, always take a moment to ask yourself what you could have done differently.
- Make a note
Using the Team Shake app to assign turn and talk partners went smoothly? Note it in your planbook. Did parents/guardians email and offer to help chaperone a field trip when you featured your need in your weekly all class email? Write it on your curriculum map for the year so you can remember to do it again next year. Create an If/Then chart to track a sequence of interventions and the data that you used to plan them.
4. Process what you notice
This is tough to do by yourself. Find a colleague who teaches the same content or shares the same students and carve out fifteen minutes to share something you noticed that went well or that fell apart. Bravely ask for feedback about how to extend your successes and try again when a lesson/interaction has bombed.
What strategies help you to reflect on your teaching?
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