Exit Comments from New Teacher Induction

//www.flickr.com/photos/drkoontz/23304394/

I’ve been going through the comments left by the New Teachers the other day in their exit cards and I thought I would take the time to post them for review here. Regardless if they are read by a large audience or not, they are already proving useful to me. To continue along the “be the change you want to see in others” vein, the information we are getting from these comments is already shaping the format for next month’s meeting. What amazes me is how easy it was to elicit feedback that is useful to my planning. I remember being in the classroom searching for meaningful information to help me plan my lessons, and the last thing I thought of was asking the students what they thought and what they needed. But when I did, the results were exactly what I needed. I hope these are of some value to anyone who has been reading the last few posts.

“What I Learned:”

  • To have students come up with their own goals and feedback–triggers brain to work and students assess themselves
  • The information of timely feedback was very interesting. It makes sense, but it’s good to see the research to back it up.
  • I learned a lot of interesting ways to have students self-evaluate–mostly from talking to colleagues who are doing great things.
  • Students can effectively monitor their own progress and this form of feedback is strongly affective
  • Feedback should be corrective and provide discussion of why the response was correct or incorrect and what makes a response correct or incorrect.
  • There are some very creative and productive ways to modify my objectives and goals
  • Feedback should be immediate after a test
  • How important it is to have student input
  • How to incorporate several structures in a seamless way.
  • It is important to set flexible goals; kinesthetic learning is more fun
  • Student self-assessment is important and should be included in lesson planning.
  • Setting goals and objectives can be negative. Students sometimes miss the big picture.
  • There are many ways to set goals with students.
  • Feedback should be provided rapidly in various forms
  • Learned the RAFT technique
  • I learned that other subject areas have students self-assess in a similar manner. This is truly a universal method.
  • Goals are more effective when they are student driven.
  • I learned that there are many ways to get information across. I like incorporating the different styles of learning–kinesthetic, intrapersonal, verbal, doing group activities.
  • I have the students set goals and give feedback, but not consistently. In my class it could work to do it everyday. I could structure my class all around this if I remember.
  • Have students involved in setting the learning objectives.
  • The real importance of feedback and the timeliness of it.
  • Goals should not be too specific; allow students to personalize them.
  • To focus on making my goals attainable and not to forget that students should be involved in goal setting.
  • Give feedback in a timely manner
  • That goal setting in the kindergarten level is not much different than the High School level.
  • I learned that it is really important to provide students with goals for each lesson. I sometimes am not consistent when I do this and when I do remember, I know they get more out of the lesson. I also learned that timely feedback is important.
  • When given the opportunity, students can assess themselves and provide feedback to themselves directly. This is an example of becoming a mature person who is capable of self-reliance and growth. We should, as teachers, provide this often and encourage it in other situations.
  • I learned it was important to be more specific when providing feedback–target particular areas.
  • That goals need to be more personal.
  • Today I realized how important quick feedback is to students.
  • I learned how amazing it is that different grade levels and subject areas can use the same “modified” ideas to attain goals in student achievement.
  • The fluidity of groups to increase learning.
  • Importance of setting goals. Impact of immediate feedback.
  • I learned that it is really important to set specific goals in planning. I also learned that feedback is more influential in learning than I previously thought.
  • I found the idea of students creating their own learning objectives interesting. My curiosity is piqued about incorporating this into the novels I teach.
  • Corrective feedback has a “shelf-life” and if I wait too long, the lesson is lost.
  • Goals need to be more general and not too specific otherwise students get so focused on the specific goal that they miss out on the other learning.
  • New ways to include students in their learning and assessment.
  • The description of goal-setting is similar to backward design in the sense of general direction and fundamental understandings.

“What I would change:”

  • I think the structure of the lessons have improved already since September.
  • Wow, I liked actually trying the strategies rather than talking about them. I wonder if we could have some concrete examples of how teachers use goals and feedback.
  • Wow! I liked the flexibility of today’s lesson.
  • I liked the session–It would be helpful to debrief the reading so we understand your perspective on the readings.
  • The “Wow,” exercise was easy to do, but the “wonder,” part was hard to do about the same statement.
  • Walk and talk was difficult because you had to write, too!
  • I wonder if you could have let us in on your lesson plan. I had no idea what we were learning about until it was all over.
  • I wonder if my students feel the same way about doing group work?
  • Thought it was very well done. More geared toward the elementary level?
  • At first it was difficult to understand your goal for the lesson.
  • At this point–no questions. I really enjoyed going through each of the structures.
  • The activities were useful, but I think there were a bit too many. I wonder how this would have worked if we cut one or two out?
  • Very organized; I enjoyed it very much.
  • How can you get the students to strive for their goals and feedback when it is lacking choices and options. Loved being able to talk with other teachers–more personal info and helpful to grow.
  • So far this has been one of my favorite professional developments. I liked actively testing out the different strategies and giving and getting feedback to different groups. The activities made the learning more fun. Thanks!
  • We touched on it, but perhaps one or two more lessons and even some demos of differentiated instruction
  • I wonder if we could have new teacher meetings everyday. I learned a lot about goals and differentiated instruction.
  • I enjoyed moving around. I wonder if we could have established an overall goal at the beginning of the session.
  • I enjoyed today’s time. Although at times the activity seemed confusing or the guidelines for completing the activity seemed vague it all came together nice and clear in the end.
  • Spend more time outside.
  • Provide every teacher with a MacBook!
  • Practicing group activities was beneficial.
  • More time to develop lessons and activities using some of the concepts presented.
  • I feel a lot of the topics discussed would be more beneficial with some veteran teachers instead of all 1st year teachers–they know what works better.
  • I thought the first chart we had to fill out was confusing.
  • It’s good to talk to peers in different grade levels and subject areas to learn new ideas.
  • The first part of the meeting was confusing, but then it was really clear and helpful.
  • I enjoyed moving and talking/collaborating with other teachers. More of the same would be fantastic.
  • I did not feel that the instructional goals section had much value. The readings were widely interpreted and more guidance was needed.
  • Liked the way the lesson was guided and not completely structured. This allowed for more creativity and interaction between colleagues.
  • Make sure reading was done ahead of time and then we could recap.
  • I really liked this meeting because I am a big fan of cooperative learning. I learned a lot of different structures today that I will definitely implement in my classroom.
  • Enjoyed the co-op groups and actually met new people!
  • Being active is important to me. I learn so much more when i play a role in the lesson.
  • I liked the different activities we did today. It was interesting to meet with other teachers at different levels and subjects.
  • There were too many activities today. Hard to take it all in.

Image Credit: “Teacher,” by Paul Texiera

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10 thoughts on “Exit Comments from New Teacher Induction

  1. Patrick,

    Using the comment as data, a successful workshop indeed.

    Here’s a piece I’m starting to wrestle with. We put a lot of energy and time into 1st and 2nd year teacher training. Then there is a drop off as we expect them to “take over’ their learning and find/make their own PD in 3rd year (or risk not getting tenure)

    I’ve been thinking lately that we might need to ramp it up for 4th and 5th year staff members. I see this as a time when they will either step up and become master teachers and teacher leaders on their own, or potentially revert into the “I have tenure now so I’m going to ease down a bit” mode.

    Obviously, we want the former (and many do this on their own) but wouldn’t it be great to do a “newly tenured teacher academy” to give them skills and PLC time to become the master teachers and teacher leaders we want them to be?

    What do you think? What would that training look like?

    Barry

  2. I am wondering as to what induction program you have your new teachers cycle through. Everything I have read seems to be above and beyond what I went through. What I like so much is that it sounds as though you are employing the same strategies that we want our teachers to use with their students. Too many times we take for granted that we are educating, even though it may be to adults. And I love the irony of teacher’s being one of the worst audiences.

    It sounds like you are doing a delightful job. Keep it up, I would love to be in your district!

  3. Barry,

    I shared your comment with my colleagues, and it resonated with something we’ve been talking about lately: how do we re-invigorate the teacher in that post-tenure year? One of the ideas we came up with stemmed from one of the comments above. Someone asked for veteran teachers to come back to share some ideas with the first year teachers. Why not bring back some of the 4th and 5th year teachers to do that? Granted, they may not be master teachers just yet, but I am sure you have been in situations where teaching concepts really did a lot to open up your own learning about the very ideas you were trying to share.

    Again, creating that type of PD requires that you have a particular type of learning community already established or close to being established. Personally, I know we are just not there yet. We get closer every year, but I don’t know how many teachers in that year would commit to it right now. But hey, it won’t hurt to ask!

  4. Steve,

    I looked back recently at a lot of the PD classes I have offered over the past couple of years, and I cringed. They were exactly the type of learning situation we try to steer our teachers away from. So, we’ve decided to drink our own Kool-Aid and teach how we’d want to be taught, and how we would like our kids to be taught.

    The program meets once a month but requires the teachers blog about their practice specific to the topic of that month. Reflection, as we bloggers have found out, is key to developing as a learner. They were reluctant at first, but I think they are taking to it more and more. We’d really like it to be a two-year program, but right now we drive the individual buildings nuts with coverages and subs on the days we do the sessions, I can’t imagine running two per month.

    Thanks for the kind words!

  5. I think that your suggestion of getting students to formulate and plan their own goals is a spot on !

    Working with a group of students previously, we did an experiment by giving them a project to do, but they had to plan their own goals and milestones and schedule.

    Because of this, most of the students took up responsibility for their own actions and any delay in their schedule. Overall, they remained highly focused on the task at hand.

    I think that the involvement of the students in the goal setting process is an important part of their learning.

  6. True, and we are looking into the same ideas. One of the most pressing factors for us is going to be to get the teachers to buy into the plans that we create. Student motivation is at a nadir here, and it is directly affecting the morale of our teachers (or it could be vice versa) so creating new programs that excite the students and teachers alike is exciting yet risky at the same time.

    We’d like to see more of it though, goal setting in classes, that is. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Patrick,
    I too am looking to design a better induction program. Working with the new teachers planning and co-teaching was a big success, but I want more. I was thinking about creating a survey to find out what they thought was successful and what they need more of for the second year. And thoughts to suggests? And great books out there that you can suggest?

    1. Hi Dennis,

      The survey is without a doubt your best bet in that regard; and I would make it anonymous as to allow your teachers, all of whom, I gather, are non-tenured, the freedom to give criticism as well. This activity above was seen as a success by the group, but others we did with them were absolute failures. At the end of the year, we did use a survey to get feedback on the program, and it helped us to design the next year.

      Best of luck!

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