At the final Keynote by Kathy Collins at the March 2014 TCRWP Saturday Reunion, she suggested an alternative way to assess teachers. Presently, in many districts in our nation, end of year standardized tests are given and the reuslts are used to evaluate a teacher.
Her suggestion: Short Answer Essays using my class list
1. Circle the 17th name. Write everything you know for sure about this child's life outside of school. Include their loves, fears, quirks, etc. Write how this knowledge impacts your teaching of this child.
2. Underline the 8th name on the list. Share a classroom anecdote about this child and indicate what that anecdote can tell you about this child's humanity.
3. Put a star next to the 11th child's name. Describe the child's relationships to his/her peers and with other adults in the school. Provide an example of a collaborative classroom interactions involving that child.
It's been said that good teaching is a 3-legged a stool: engagement, content, and pedagogy.
* I can know the content so well but without understanding the children, I won't be able to teach them a thing.
* I can understand the children but the content may still not be delivered using the best method so it doesn't stick.
* I can have the best relationships with all the children and use the best methods but if I don't know the content, child will not learn the content that they are to learn.
As a teacher, I must focus on ALL aspects. I try to focus on ALL aspects. Kathy Collin's got me to focus on the importance of relationships during her keynote and reminded me of how important they are. Standardized test results show that children know content. I have come to believe that the workshop model and authenic, hands-on activities are the best method to use to teach content to the children in my classroom.
It is a balance...one I am still striving to juggle well.
It is a balance...one that I will always work hard to accomplish.