A new year always brings about the challenge of coming up with new ideas and strategies. In the field of education both teachers and students have the opportunity to begin two times…in the fall and the winter (and some in the summer). What does this mean for the teacher?
A teacher can reflect on the strategies used during the first semester. How well did they work out for the students? Looking at the grades for the first semester may give an idea on how well the students performed and should help guide instruction for the second half of the school year. But does it reflect as a whole on how well the teacher performed? If I were to assess students’ learning on these grades, how accurately would they indicate that I did my job adequately?
It’s really hard to tell. Learning may have been going on without my knowledge and a poor grade may not necessarily mean that I did not do my job. But how to tell the difference?
Whether a student has processed information or not and mastered the skills necessary to complete a course may always be a mystery. As a veteran teacher, I can only hope that I got across to the students and that they will apply what they learned in my class to their lives as students and professionals.
May I meet them again in their working careers and discover that they have obtained some measure of success because I and my colleagues did something right!
Here’s hoping that the new semester and the new year 2015 will bring about changes that inspire further learning and the acquisition of knowledge that promotes academic excellence! ~~LMM