Friday, June 11, 2010

My Daughter as a Teacher

I am exceptionally proud of my daughter. Yesterday I finally visited her classroom and was very impressed with what I saw.

I saw a teacher that sets high standards for her students.  I watched her go over graded lab reports with her students.  She explained why students had points taken off for imprecise labeling.  She told her students how the graph name should tell the reader exactly what the reader was viewing.  For example, "Solar Oven Temperatures Measured in Degrees Celsius by Minutes Elapsed" is more precise than "Solar Oven Results."  After addressing whole class concerns she asked if there were any students who wanted a private conference regarding their grades.

I saw a teacher that had excellent classroom management techniques in place.  The agenda for the day was displayed on the interactive white board. At the beginning of each class the agenda was discussed with students. What I was particularly impressed with was the use of positive language when addressing expectations.  "Thank you for filling out your name and class information on the Scantron sheet." "Thank you for returning your textbook."  So much more effective than "Johnny, why haven't you filled in your information on your Scantron sheet?"

Last week when her father and sister visited her classroom, administrators made it a point to tell them how well they thought she had done in her first year of teaching.  A secretary told me the same thing when I signed in.  On her chalkboard was a message written by one of her students, telling her how much she appreciated the fun labs my daughter had provided.  The student emphasized how important the labs were to her future as a marine biologist.  If I were my daughter, I would keep that note forever.

I know that she has put in lots of extra time at school to make sure her classes run smoothly.  It's not unusual for her to put in 12+ hour days in her classroom.  On the first morning of my visit she left for school very early, as a few children were coming in for extra help before a test.  That evening she was not home until after 6:00, and after dinner she debated going back to school.  I am glad she decided to stay home.  All good teachers need rest.

I know she will get some of that much needed rest on a few short days, when she and her husband will return to his hometown for the summer.  In the quietude of the West Virginia mountains, she will have time to reflect on all that has transpired during her first year of teaching.

And she will actively plan for the next school year.

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