It has been a very busy few weeks starting back at school for another year. I have enjoyed getting to know my students and starting the routine for a new school year. In the first few days, I have emphasised our good deed tree, a goal sheet, the ideas that we are a team and they are the reason we are here.
I want my students to believe that every person can do some good in this world, be it big or small, and make the world a better place. In our classroom we have a good deed tree where the students write a good deed (an act of kindness) on a small piece of paper and stick it to an apple on the tree. This acts as a promise to complete the good deed. Once the students have completed their good deed, they can replace it with another. I’m also thinking of asking students to add good deeds they see other people doing in our school to our tree.
Setting goals is an important skill for everyone to have. Goals motivate us to work towards what we want and make it more likely that we will achieve it. I provided my students with a worksheet that they need to fill out on a weekly basis. It helps them to identify something they need to work on and a way to achieve it. The students are also encouraged to reflect on their progress.
Click the link to view and download the goal setting worksheet: Goal Setting Worksheet
In my classroom, I really want to emphasise that the students and I are a team. We work together, we help and support each other, we care about each other and we celebrate each other’s success. I provided my students with a class tree and one at a time, students came up to add their fingerprint to the tree. The finished product truly emphasised that we are a team and we are all important and make up this class. It will be something that will constantly be refered to in our classroom.
I want my students to know that everything we do in our classroom has a purpose. When they write they are authors, when they complete mathematics they are being mathematicians, when they research they are researchers, when they are learning about science they are scientists and so on. Ultimately, I want the students to know that they are the reason we are here.
What have you emphasised in your classroom?
I just completed my third and final practicum (yay!) and I was lucky to have a great colleague teacher who took the time to note down both positive comments and things that I could improve on. While sometimes it can be difficult to hear the things you could have done better, particularly during prac which can be quite a stressful time, it is important to take it on as constructive criticism.
After all, in my eyes we have two options:
- disregard the feedback and carry on as before
- take a positive attitude and create goals to be achieved directly from the feedback
What have you done in the past?
I took the second option and really tried to turn the cons into specific goals that I could work towards throughout the rest of my prac. I believe I consistently improved as a direct result of the specific goals that I created from the feedback and the support from my colleague teacher. Now that prac is over, I intend to continue working to achieve my goals and continue to set new ones.
If you’re a teacher who takes on student teachers, provide constructive feedback and set goals for your student to work towards. Prac can be a stressful time and it is important to provide positive feedback as well as noting improvements that could be made. Positive feedback allows the student to know what they are doing well and provides them with confidence, while turning the cons into goals provides the student with specific things to work towards.
As teachers, we need to be constantly reflecting on our teaching and continually finding ways to improve. My uni supervisor left me with some simple, yet wise words about teachers that really rings true; “when you think you know it all, then you should leave.” We can never know it all, nor do we have to, we just need to keep reflecting on our teaching and make improvements and adjustments where necessary in order to continue working towards being the best teacher that we can be. Setting goals to be achieved based on reflections and/or the advice of others can help us to do exactly that.
However, this approach can even stretch far beyond teachers and the classroom. We could apply this approach to our daily lives if we continually reflect on the choices we make and the actions we choose. We can create goals for ourselves to achieve in order to be the best that we can be. Wouldn’t the world be a great place if everyone lived by this notion?
Do you take this approach?
What strategies have you seen work well between a colleague teacher and a student teacher?