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Saturday, March 20, 2021

CURMUDGUCATION: An Evaluation That Teachers Can Use

CURMUDGUCATION: An Evaluation That Teachers Can Use
An Evaluation That Teachers Can Use

A post from Jay Wamsted at Education Post (yes, that Education Post--I've said it before and I'll say it again--it's important to read from all over the edu-web) got me thinking about the sources of feedback that teachers can tap. He tells a story about a missed moment in which someone offered him feedback on his teaching that he didn't want to hear, and how he regrets that missed opportunity.

Which I get. I suspect most teachers who have been doing the work more than five years get it. Because the system so rarely gives us feedback we can use, teachers hunker down into a cycle of reflection and self-evaluation, and that is a great and beautiful thing, but it has its drawbacks. Teachers can fall into a despair spiral ("I should have handled that differently today and I also didn't get that student what they needed and I'm a week behind on papers and oh my god did I just choose the wrong profession??")

Teachers can also get into a place where outside feedback hits like a bucket of cold water and our back goes up and our claws come out. That's what happened to Wamsted. It happened to me, a bit differently. It was very early in my career. I was teaching ninth graders, and at the beginning of a unit doing a preliminary check what knowledge they had to bring to the table. And at some point, students said, "Mr. Greene, we don't know any of that stuff. They never taught us that in middle school."

Except, here's the thing--I had just switched teaching positions that year. I had been one of their middle school teachers. I knew damn well what I had taught them, and it had included the stuff CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: An Evaluation That Teachers Can Use