Fall 2016 Teacher Report Card

Matt Vaudrey (@MrVaudrey and http://mrvaudrey.com/) has been using his version of a Teacher Report Card for a few years now, and I have been using a different one for the last couple of years but decided to give his version a go in January as a part of our end-of-course reflection.

My co-teacher and I only used this for Physics by Design, our project-based and blended learning pilot class. The responses given were for both of us, which may create some biased data; it would be interesting to receive this data individually because I’m not sure what (if anything) would be different! We also only received 25 responses out of 48 students and I’m not sure how that affected the end results.

Each response prompt begins with “My teachers…” and a rating of 1 means “strongly disagree” while a rating of 5 means “strongly agree”. Below you’ll see question-by-question results and my thoughts on each. Overall I’m much happier about these results than I was at the end of last year’s and I’ve got thoughts about that at the end.

  • respect each student. respect-each-student

This is good to see. I wonder what the six students who responded with either “disagree” or “unsure” believe that respecting each student looks like and if we did anything in particular to them that may have made them feel as though we didn’t respect them.

  • try to see the students’ point of view. see-the-students-point-of-view

What I found interesting here is that there are 3 more students who responded negatively to this than to the previous prompt, which again makes me wonder what our students feel a teacher should say/do to respect students. We did not do many of the typical first week activities because they had a week-long “bootcamp” the week before school but maybe we should have included more so that we could try to be on the same page a little more.

  • explain the math/physics concepts clearly. explain-physics-concepts-clearly

This is one where I wish we would’ve split it; I did the majority of math instruction while my co-teacher did most of the physics instruction. Did they believe one of us did a better job than the other? Also, we started off the year with much more direct instruction while our last unit was by far the most online-content heavy. Did that shift in teaching and learning style effect the responses to this prompt or would students have responded similarly in October?

  • use language that we can understand. use-language-that-we-understand

Why are the responses to this prompt mostly agree/strongly agree compared to the last prompt? What is the difference, in our students’ eyes, between explaining concepts clearly and using language that they can understand?

  • do a good job of treating all students equally. do-a-good-job-of-treating-students-equally

I am happy that our results are anonymous but I really want to know who put they strongly disagree with this statement and why.

  • seem to enjoy teaching. seem-to-enjoy-teaching

Well these are much better results than the results I got at the end of last year, and I think you could definitely see that if you walked into my classrooms to compare them. There were definitely still bad days (and weeks, if we’re being honest) but overall the first semester of this year was so much more enjoyable than the second semester of last year. Exponentially so. Spending half of my day all year long with the same students, who are freshmen/sophomores/juniors in Algebra 1, does not make me enjoy teaching.

  • show interest in students’ lives. show-an-interest-in-students-lives

I know I didn’t do as good of a job of this compared to my first two years of teaching. This year I have gone to significantly fewer sporting events and concerts but I tried to at least know what school activities each student was involved in.

  • make me feel important. make-me-feel-important

This question intrigued me the most because, reflecting on my high school experience, this wasn’t something I feel as though I thought about. In fact, one of my best and favorite teachers occasionally called me out for being dumb and/or full of myself (she did this with everyone; I chose to take her classes for three straight years). So maybe I didn’t need that but some students do. Or maybe I didn’t think I needed it but my life would’ve been altered in some way if I felt my teachers made me feel important. I’m not sure.

  • keep the class under control without being too tough. keep-the-class-under-control-without-being-too-tough

No disagreement here. I’m only in my third year so classroom management isn’t my strong suit, but that was compounded by the nature of this course. I ended up writing multiple referrals on the first day of the same class this semester so I think I may have swung a little too far in the opposite direction. We’re working on it.

  • answer questions completely. answer-questions-completely

I don’t always want to answer questions completely, especially in this more exploratory course, so I’m glad to see that most students agreed but I’m not broken up that we had a couple of who disagreed to varying degrees.

  • praise good work. praise-good-work

This makes me happy. I think it’s very easy, especially when your classroom management is lacking, to only focus on negative behaviors and students who aren’t doing work well. I am glad most students seem to have thought that we praised good work enough and I hope we can keep that up.

  • encourage me to be responsible. encourage-me-to-be-responsible

Oy vey, this is one of the hardest things about teaching freshmen. Suddenly they’re not forced to carry around a planner and they don’t have to have a locker and they get a personal school laptop/charger and calculator and it’s like all of the good work the middle school teachers did goes out the window. These results are encouraging but I know somehow we can do better.

Matt had two other prompts that I found interesting. These were fill in the blank and I’ve included a sample of student responses for each.

  • Sometimes the teacher _____, but not always.
    • gets frustrated
    • is nice
    • is crazy
    • didn’t understand what we were saying
    • does a good job of integrating online and face-to-face learning
    • has too many students to help at the same time
    • says bad words
  • Sometimes the teacher lets the class _____, but not always.
    • socialize
    • work outside in the hallway
    • choose who to work with
    • get loud

Overall I think this was a much more concise survey than I was giving to students previously and I appreciated the specific fill-in-the-blank responses at the end. There were a few responses to both that didn’t make sense, so that makes me wonder if those students created some misrepresentation in the previous ratings as well. The world will never know.

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Currently a high school math teacher working on a cross-curricular project-based learning.

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