Next month, I will start my eighth year of teaching in public schools and my second year teaching at a project based school (New Tech). I teach American Studies as part of a team taught humanities course. I am responsible for the Honors English III and AP English Language and Composition curriculum. Every year I try and set some goals for myself, so here is my list for this year.
1. STRONG CO-TEACHER RELATIONSHIP: I am teaching with a new co-teach this year and the dynamic between us will be different from last year. From what I have determined, Mr. H and I are both strong minded, type-A personalities. Therefore, I will need to give a little more than I had to last year. Mr. H seems very confident in his content and the social studies skills. This means we will have to learn to trust each other and build a relationship that feeds off of one another.
2. ULTIMATE LEARNER CHOICE: I determined at the end of last year that I wanted to have more learner choice in products for their projects. This requires more grading, prep, and scaffolding, but it allows the learner to tap into their greatest motivators thereby giving them the opportunity to learn and retain more skills and information. I need to encourage learners to seek challenges and to think outside of the project box. I also need to plan projects in such a way that lets learners have maximum choice while still staying true to the College Board standards and TEKS
3. PARENT COMMUNICATION: This is always on my mind and it is so hard to do sometimes. I want the learners to take charge of their own learning and not rely on the facilitator-parent relationship to keep them on track. However, I do need to keep parents updated with happenings in class and when their learner is not performing well. Maybe I will set up a regular mass email with parents to open the line of communication
4. MORE IN PROJECT ASSESSMENT: As an English teacher, I am always grading and assessing final products (usually essays). I have been learning to assess mid-product and allow learners to improve and adjust throughout the project. If I grade at the end, there is no motivation for growth from the comments and assessment. One of the problems with grading this way is that learners and parents do not always understand when the majority of the grade is not given for the final product. This is something I will have to help them both understand
5. MORE UNASSESSED READING AND WRITING: Part of becoming a mature reader and writer is by constant practice in multiple mediums. Learners need a push into reading all types of texts and writing well for multiple aims, but they do not always take it seriously when there is no accountability. I am thinking of grading their “Agency” twice a six-weeks, where they are required to show evidence of growth, motivation, and personal responsibility. This will be an ongoing log where they prove that their “Agency” is proficient or advanced
6. WRITING FOR AUTHENTIC AUDIENCES: I want to help students write for real audiences, not just for me. They need to write for each other, for experts, and for all different communities. I am not sure how I am going to do this one, but I will be researching and looking for good writing audiences as we move through the semester.