There really isn't a secret formula for the best way to provide feedback to teachers—different kinds of teachers require different kinds of feedback. This can make the challenge of giving adequate but constructive feedback hard for those who provide it. Teaching can feel like a very personal and even private endeavor for teachers, so any critique or criticism about instruction can feel more personal than it probably should.
Topics: Administrator Resources
Being a teacher is a more complex job than ever before. The challenges and stress of the position require teachers to possess an amazing ability to manage many dynamic factors all at once. One of the best examples for this is the emergency drills that we now partake in during the school day. Years ago, there was a fire drill every month, and possibly another drill depending on where you lived—we have tornado drills in our part of the country, but I know other locations have drills for earthquakes or other natural disasters.
Providing feedback to teachers can be a tricky prospect at times. Teaching, and instruction in particular, is a very personal undertaking. Getting up in front of a room of children takes a great deal of nerve at first, so as teachers become more and more accustomed to it, they tend to become more and more fixed in their approach to it.
This is a generalization, of course—not all teachers are like this. Some of the best teachers I have worked with love feedback and work hard to reflect upon and improve their instruction.
I have been thinking about this question a lot lately. I’ve taught for over 20 years in seven different buildings. This includes various grade levels in the elementary setting in the inner city, in military schools, in affluent schools, and somewhere in between. Over the years, I have realized a few things about what it takes to make a school great.
Boxlight is excited to announce the spring webinar series, Transforming Learning in the Classroom, featuring five webinars to help you improve upon important professional development and STEM integration in your school. The presenters are all experts and leaders in education and technology, and they are ready to share their insights into creating successful learning environments.
The series will begin on March 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm ET with Innovations Bringing STEM and Robotics to Today’s Classrooms. The experts hosting each webinar have used and loved each of the innovative solutions discussed in the webinars to engage students and promote STEM in the classroom. The webinars were developed to help educators of all types acquire useful knowledge to help bring their classroom to greater technology-driven heights.
Collaborating with other educators is an effective method of professional development. When teachers have time to talk, connect, and collaborate, they can expand their experience and expertise.
In many schools, finding this time can be a huge challenge. Even if teachers can find the time to meet and talk, sometimes the group is not cohesive or collaborative enough to be very productive. And other times, they might not have a person in the school who teaches the same content or grade level. Teachers who want to plan and collaborate may have few, if any, options.
In some areas of our country, finding great teachers is becoming harder and harder. There are many teachers retiring, fewer joining the profession, and new teachers who don’t last more than a few years. We will focus on the third group here to consider what can be done to help retain new teachers.
For starters, we need to determine why people choose to leave the profession. After giving four years of college to the degree, why would someone abandon teaching in just a few years’ time?
Topics: Administrator Resources
Over the past few decades, there has been a great deal of interest and desire to change, and most of the time improve, public education. Some of these ideas have been innovative, and some less than so. Some have been on a large scale, while some are more at a building level. Some have had political backing (charter schools), while others have had financial backing (think The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or Summit Education founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg).
So, what does all this focus on “change” matter for a school building? Or does it not matter at all? Are the teachers or the principals in individual buildings impacted by these changes? Many experts, some more expert than others, have many opinions about what should or should not be going on in schools. But what impact does this have on schools that are trying to improve from the inside?
The metaphor usually goes something like this, and often when a teacher is frustrated with a class of students: “School is your job. You need to show up to work every day and work hard. Your grades are like your paycheck—the harder you work, the more you can earn in our classroom. Some of you aren’t working hard and need to be fired.”