Thursday, May 31, 2012

Make a List of Things To Improve Upon Before You Forget Them

Empty bulletin board
The compliment to yesterday's list of "good things I did this year" is a list of things you need to improve upon the following year.  Framing it this way, instead of a list of "things I didn't do well" or "ways I suck as a teacher" makes you think specifically in a constructive, actionable way.

What might this look like?  Here are the lists I made at the end of my first two years in the classroom:

Things To Improve Upon In 04-05
  1. Better utilize space on each Interactive Notebook page
  2. Use seating charts and seating arrangements more effectively (identify trouble pairs and move them apart).
  3. Call ALL parents in the first month.
  4. Call parents more quickly (don't let it get out of hand first, also helps identify parents that aren't going to be much help).
  5. If I'm cluster leader, arrange for lunch detention and maximize number of cluster meetings.
  6. More assertiveness in the classroom--don't give up on anyone!
  7. Talk to previous year's teacher as well as counselors for insights on struggling kids
  8. Make copies of all referrals before handing them in
Things To Improve Upon In 05-06
  1. Better Andrew Jackson video? (they were bored with the last one)
  2. Watch over tape/staplers like a hawk
  3. Sell pencils
  4. Be better prepared for new students: get their info and communicate with parents earlier
  5. Better long-term projects to continue reviewing key topics all year
  6. Implement current events mini-curriculum
  7. Students should clean up around their desks every period before they can leave
  8. Rename the Do Now -- Kickoff, Starter?
  9. Continue working on improving discipline, especially not yelling, getting visibly upset with everyone, not just certain students
  10. Let students write out hall passes themselves so I just sign it
  11. Better "big goal" project to keep them going at the end of the year
  12. More integrated writing
  13. Use mobile lab for research, projects, powerpoints
  14. Focus more on skills TEKS/integrate more fully into existing lessons
  15. Clearer big goal and student-created (or maintained) ongoing tracking system
  16. More observations/professional development
Both this reflection exercise and yesterday's are ideas I wrote about in Teaching is Not a Four Letter Word: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Job.