Saturday, February 14, 2015

Renew and Reflect #4: Teaching Development Plan

Movin' slow  . . . but moving! 

That's my typical reply to folks who ask me how I'm doing. That phrase describes my progress on the January Renew and Reflect Blog Challenge, moving, but oh, so slowly.  

The question: What is one area of my learning and teaching I want to develop this year?"

Glad it's just one. It's easy for me to make lists of what I need to improve. Questions like these force me to focus. Deep breath. 

My big teaching goal is to ratchet up my record keeping and paper work skills. This means keeping up with add/drop deadlines (made it) and census reports (blew it). Lemme do that right now. . . 

Good. Done. 

The other two record keeping task (sing along with me): Timely turnaround with grading; Accurate, timely attendance-taking. 

If I can keep in the front of my mind how quick turn-around actually supports student learning, perhaps I'll do a better job. Students need feedback to learn, so if I am too slow on the grading/commenting circuit, their potential to learn suffers. I remember how much I wanted to know how I was doing, even if it simply meant that my teachers received my work. Plus, if they see I am not observing their work, they may decide it's not a priority to practice the skills embedded in the assignments. 

Keeping regular attendance can help with soft skills - those practices that serve students throughout their academic and career lives. 

One thing I have started doing last week is emailing students if they missed class - right after class.  Not to badger, but to let them know they were missed, that they can check the Learning Management System (we use Blackboard) to keep up. 

Sometimes just knowing the teacher notices someone is missing, acknowledging their absence, may reduce social isolation and even encourage attendance. I can't do this unless I pay closer attention to attendance and tardy patterns. 

Don't know how long I keep up regular emails to absent students. But even if I reach out sporadically, maybe once a week for each section, it's worth the effort. 

I can practice and learn these skills. Grit. Growth mindset. I can do this.