Student Evaluations meets Portfolio Making
Posted by newbie-tchr at 3:29 pm in 1

In preparation for the progressing job search, I’ve started to make portfolios that I plan on bringing with me to job interviews. Portfolios were a requirement in my student teaching seminar for graduation, but for people not familiar with them – Scholastic has a great¬†article¬†here about them.

The standard portfolio should be more like an interactive resume – it should have letters of recommendation, teaching philsophy, sample lesson plans, sample student work, copies of certifications, etc. What I’ve decided to also include in my portfolio are some copies of student evaluations they completed on my teaching at the end of student teaching.Initially this means a happy little walk down memory lane…I really do miss my students. After that little journey, there’s two common themes I’ve noticed in most of the evaluations – either they’re wildly inappropriate for a portfolio, or the students opinions contrast with what educators allegedly want to see. The inappropriate is at least comical – a bunch of 17 year old boys letting me know they’re single. Great. I’ll definitely keep that in mind the next time I want to go to jail or completely ruin my teaching career.

The interesting evaluations are the kids telling me they don’t like the activities my grad school in particular preached they would love. Learning Centers? My earliest and latest class hated them. At least one student was honest and said, “I didn’t like learning centers cause I’m too lazy to get up and move.” I did unfortunately discover this during teaching, and we resolved it by making it something they could all do at their desks…without having to get up. Their wish, my command.

Learning centers aren’t it – pretty much any activity where movement (not rewarded with food or candy) is required was not well looked upon in the morning or during the food coma hours post-lunch. One funny thing is that a few kids warned me against activities I didn’t even use – but other teachers of theirs had overused them so much, they despised it all together. The lesson from this is that just because you find an activity that works, it doesn’t mean you should stop looking for more that get students interested. Education programs or pundits may praise webquests or RAFT writings, but don’t just cling to the same activities or lessons time and time again. Any game or activity can get boring if replayed a million times.

As for my portfolio, I actually might include one or two evaluations that decry against activities I didn’t even use. With explanation, I think I’ll be able to work it to my advantage – just “look at how I incorporated student feedback into diversifying my curriculum. ” Something along those lines should work, but the point is still there – teachers who rely on only one tool or trick end up taking any usefulness away and replacing it with boredom in the students. Not only that, but they’re taking away any effectiveness that activity could have for teachers who have these students in the future. AKA – this could have something to do with the 36 evaluations I got (no lie) begging me to never do a webquest because they did too many sophomore year. If I had these kids two years later and they’re still sick of webquests – maybe that teacher needs to consider toning it down just a wee bit.

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