Teacher Reflection

End-of-Year Professional Reflection 2020

2020 hasn’t been the easiest of year’s to work with – with bushfires in Australia that really affected my emotional health to Covid-19 and the closing of school and the completion of Semester 2 through eLearning while living with my family in my parents home in Australia – it has been a weird year.

I have been asked to complete an end-of-year reflection for this 2019-2020 academic year. I would like to do that but also to include a few other significant learnings that I believe will take me forward as an Educator at ISB for (hopefully) years to come.

Firstly, the Tripod framework has been adopted by ISB to provide ways in which to assess the work that we do and to consider how we might focus our attentions as we grow our craft.

In my blog post from November, the feedback from my MS students was that I need to:

  • Explain more clearly and in multiple ways to ensure understanding
  • Give them more time to consider their thinking and time for them to share their thinking
  • Offer opportunities for them to share their thinking in multiple ways
  • Check-in with them more often to check for understanding and thinking in our class.

A few weeks into the e-Learning experience, I polled my students to get further feedback and the same things came to the top:

  • Explain more clearly
  • Use more tools to explain (screencast, audio, less text etc)

Generally, the students who provided feedback were the ones who were engaged or mostly engaged with the conversations, tasks and sharing of their work – I wish that I had some data from those who have not been involved or have disappeared from the PE and Health eLearning landscape.

Below is the self-assessment information that I have filled out, I would like to comment below it with more detail.

Tripod’s 7Cs Framework (self-assessment by educator)Meeting (Yes or Needs Work)
Care: Show concern for students’ emotional and academic well-beingY
Confer: Encourage and value students’ ideas and viewsY
Captivate: Spark and maintain student interest in learningIDK, unit dependent
Clarify: Help students understand the content and resolve confusionY
Consolidate: Help students integrate and synthesize key ideasN
Challenge: Insist that students persevere and do their best workY
Classroom Management: Foster orderly, respectful, and on-task classroom behaviorY

In Semester 1 students rated me highly on Classroom Management and Care. This was very reassuring for me as I work hard to create a specific environment of respect but also risk taking and freedom and to also get to know my students and their families and build a relationship of trust and care with them.

I wanted to focus on Clarification and Consolidation and these have been really important during eLearning. I have worked hard to be really thoughtful in the ways in which I have communicated with students. I am a lover of words and writing and talking and have had to be very deliberate in trying to say less, write less and not send too many emails or posts, thoughts or other to students – so that I am not overwhelming them in any but it also seems that students don’t read my feedback or emails – so time could be better used in the way in which I am engaging with students and their parents.

I have really worked hard to clarify difficult concepts in our units – with screencasts (optimal time under 6 minutes); video explanations; examples, audio of instructions, choosing resources that have multi-lanugage options; sharing big ideas and specific dates and information; offering feedback in multiple mediums (video, audio, text, emoji’s) as well as involving parents in the learning where needed. I have emailed groups of students, individuals, whole classes, I have left messages all over the place!

If we had to start again, I would start slower and with less tools – I would run an optional Zoom check-in class 1x week with each class that was at the same time if possible each week, and encourage students to come along and ask questions and then let them sign off when they need to. I would have emailed students earlier to see what they needed. I would love to run classes online but this has been super challenging to do and my attendance to these has been very limited, many Zoom sessions have no students in them.

I have tried to source resources that are MS friendly and work with other PE and Health teachers to find ways to captivate and consiolidate big ideas with scenarios, case studies, award winning video clips, and offer them mini-assessments and class tasks that assessed their learning and understanding in multiple ways before using all of that in summative assessments. This has been hampered by students not completing tasks and then needing a lot of support to try and cut corners and ‘catchup’ so that they can do what they see as the summative task and get a grade without doing the whole course of mini-learnings that they need to be able to do the whole thing. I feel like it is like giving students a set of instructions for a cooking class, and they have to learn how to do specific component parts or learn how to use specific equipment in order to then make the final dish using all of those learnt skills – but kids just want the final recipe and then can’t do it and come away as frustrated as I am.

I do feel I have tried my best to be available for students. I have tried to write and deliver content that was engaging, fun, well-paced and informative and that has met the needs of our diverse students in all the different locations, with the lock-downs and access to a range of equipment or space. It has not been easy. I know that I can do it better, but I really hope that I don’t have to find out…

2 Comments

  • mhamada

    Thank you Jon, for your time and effort in creating safe spaces for me to teach PE and Health and for championing our position as not just a specialist subject. I know that we are going to learn from this and grow to meet more of the student needs – it takes practice and patience and I think we are going to all move forward with this in the best way. I look forward to more conversations.

  • Jon Hill

    Hi Mel- I really appreciate your reflections here. It has been a challenging year, but also one that will shape our thinking going forward. Your current students have, perhaps, missed out on the on-campus experiences, but perhaps our learning and responses to this strange year will make PE better for all students in the years ahead. Happy to engage in conversations about this hopeful future!

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