Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Feedback Failure

I am in one of those funks where I feel like I'm not a very good teacher this year, particularly in one of my 4 preps.

Before I get to the reason why and reveal my dirty secret, let me say that I know I'm doing a lot right this year, and I know that my school supports me and wants me to bring innovation to the school.  I really try to do that every day.

I plan a lot, even if it isn't all formal.  I can't stand to walk in class and not have a plan, in fact, I generally have stuff posted 3-4 days in advance in the classes I'm teaching well.  That allows for the students who finish early to keep pushing and maybe earn themselves some flex time that they might need later.

My day is also planned out to help the students.  If that means I have to miss an occasional lunch while a student finishes a retake of an assessment, I'm down with that.  I'm not there late for personal reasons, but I try to always be there very early.  I make it a point to answer student emails as rapidly as I possibly can.

I'm tooting my own horn in all of that because I feel awful about the area that I have been terrible about this year, which is one that is near and dear to my heart.

That area is feedback.  Two years ago when I had a position of influence, I remember teaching a PLC group about Feedback and how vital it was in the educational process, how things like "good job" etc are not really good feedback. I've always prided myself on being that teacher who had grades turned around no more than 2 days after any assignment was in, and if I could use something like google forms for immediate feedback, I'd always shoot for that.

I really want that to be the focus of my class every day. In some ways it is, as I probably spend 80% of my class periods in my chemistry class going around and helping students and giving quick feedback on their work.

But the depth of my feedback is lacking sorely.  I feel like I know a thousand technological ways to offer amazing personalized feedback. I've given out those ideas to others.  But personally, the time issue gets in the way.

This aggravates me even more because I know that we find time for the things that matter, and I don't feel like I'm doing that right now and that makes me really mad at myself as a teacher.  I spend so much time making videos, prepping activities, and tutoring, that my feedback just gets shorted.

I have a plethora of goals for the remainder of the year and for next year, but I really think I need to bump up feedback to be #1.  I don't think anything else is going to affect my students as much in a positive way, and so I really have to devote myself to that, even if my planning and other things have to suffer somewhat.