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January 29, 2009

Student Teacher Evaluation 1971

I recently found my student teacher evaluation. It's nearly thirty-eight years old - an interesting prediction about what would eventually emerge as my teaching style. At the time, I was a senior at Hartwick College in Oneonta NY. I student taught at very small rural school in South New Berlin NY. It was a K-12 central school of about 300 students with a senior class of about a dozen.  You can download my first evaluation here. (348KB pdf)  

Peter-eval

I've included a few comments from my college supervisor:

You have no problem with class control when you wanted it. - I suggest you get it as soon as you are ready to start.
Learning cannot go on to any great extent, if half the students are talking.

And I especially like this one - what an image!

Climb on them and let them know what you expect.

I suspect my college supervisor was hoping to see a well-organized lecture with attentive students busy taking notes. At the time, I was just stumbling along trying to figure out how to engage my kid in their learning. After teaching few years,  I realized it involved shifting my role from information dispenser to designer of learning environment. For example, I had to learn not to reply to every student response during a whole group discussion. That teacher-dominated discussion was only teaching my students that none of their comments had any value, until I "approved" them. As more experienced teacher, my classes were filled with student discussion - the difference was, I had well-planned formats that encouraged all students to reflect and contribute. Unlike my college supervisor, I do believe learning can go on with all the students talking!

BTW: I did see one positive in my student teacher evaluation. In the space for "Chalkboard Work." He had written "used overhead."  Guess I was into cutting-edge technology from the earliest days of my career.

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I connected with your statement about moving from a dispenser of knowledge to a designer of learning environments. When I began teaching, I must admit that I was impressed with the lectures I designed and the worksheets that I created (those available through the textbook company were insufficient). But I soon realized my students were as bored as I had been when I endured high school. It was when I learned to be quiet--what Finkel called Teaching With Your Mouth Shut--that students began to learn...and I did as well.

Randy,

I remember as new teacher thinking it was my job to read and synthesize all the learning into a fascinating lecture for my students. I was most likely the best student in the class.

Thanks for the tip on Finkel's book. It looks interesting - I ordered it!

Cheers,

Peter

I am also a teacher..i hope to learn more..and continue with my advocacy. God bless you

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