At the beginning of the school year, you have everything mapped out—lesson plans, seating charts, and more. You start the semester knowing what you want to accomplish. Now that you’ve reached the end of the year, you might be wondering if you did everything that you meant to . . . or even if there is something that you could do better next year. The end of the school year is a great time to stop and evaluate yourself as a teacher. Here are a few things you can do to see if you need to make changes for next year.
Check Your Goals
Did you meet your goals for the year? Obviously, you have to adjust your expectations during the year depending on your class and other factors (weather, resources, etc.). But you can probably still tell if you met or came close to meeting your goals. One way to check your goals would be to evaluate your assessments. If the tests, quizzes, and homework assignments your students completed are not measuring what you need them to, they will need to be changed.
For example, it may be that a unit test about World War II assessed your students’ general knowledge about dates, locations, and people. But your objective for your students was to help them understand that the European and Pacific battles were happening simultaneously. Some of your lessons might have even focused on that objective, but your assessments didn’t assess it. By checking for situations like that you will be able to fix them and understand where you need to make improvements.
Take a Course
Are there any classes or conferences that you could attend this summer? Your school may already ask you to continue your professional development, but even if it doesn’t, you should consider looking into what’s available. A local or online university may offer education or subject-related courses that would benefit you. Or there may be a conference in your area (or near family and friends!) that would help too.
BJU Press hosts The Exchange Conference to assist classroom teachers using our curriculum. For two-and-a-half days, teachers attend sessions where they learn how to better use our curriculum when teaching certain subjects, specific grades, or with technology. To find other conference opportunities, try searching online for “teacher conferences summer 2014.” You can even narrow down the search by including your city and state so that mainly local conferences appear in your results.
Be a Student
What is it like to be a student in your classroom? You may find it helpful to remember which lessons your students were most or least engaged in as well as which activities were successful. Remembering how you connected with your students will help you plan for the future. The lessons that they loved will probably be favorites for others, and any activity that helps cement what you’re teaching is great to remember and do again. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to try something new. Some things you will need to do every year, but at other times you may discover a great solution when you take a leap.
Have a great summer!
How do you assess yourself and grow as a teacher?