Recently I was observed, and the feedback is not what I was expecting:
- I do too much
- I am great at reflecting about my lessons, but I am too critical of myself and my lessons.
This is not typical observation feedback, so it made me reflect some more about my reflection of the lesson. First of all, I do too much?! This was not me dictating notes throughout the class in a stereo like manner. It meant, I create too many resources for the students. I guess it is make to save my sanity. Many of the digital resources created obviously take time. Yet it could just be a 5 minutes activity in class. The payoff to work ratio does not match. The feedback was meant I should be able to have the students benefit more from the resources created. At this point in their young Spanish careers, everything is new, so repetition is not a bad thing. They should have multiple chances to interact with the same activities. With the interactive whiteboard, there is never a shortage of students who want to come up to the front and participate.
I realized my time was valuable, and so are the resources created for the students. I gave them half a day to use the mini laptops and practice (or play) all the different activities that had been created for the unit. They loved it. Even the frustrations of the older mini laptops and the incredibly slow load speed did not prevent learning.
The second part of the observation feedback was that I do a great job reflecting, but that I am too critical of myself. Striving for perfection (in a non-obsessive compulsive way) shows pride in my work. Admitting you could so something better is not a sign of weakness. It takes strength of character to be aware of your abilities and possibilities.
I think students have lost some of the ability to reflect. Always being connected to the Internet and other technology devices has them trapped in the right now. They do not look forward and they definitely do not look back. From kindergarten to senior year of high school my classmates and I were required to collect items for our portfolio multiple times a year for each class; this included a reflection component. At the time it was annoying, but it taught a life lesson. Even something that appeared perfect could still be improved. I liked getting good grades, but I was driven to do good work. That drive still exists today. The pride in work makes it easier to reflect upon work. When motivated solely by grade, seeing the ‘A’ ends all reflection and chance for self-improvement.