Archive for the 2015 – 2016 Professional Reflection Category

Recap of 2015/16 Professional Goals

Posted in 2015 - 2016 Professional Reflection on May 10, 2016 by Mister A

Before you read my recap, watch this video I made to provide motivation to my students who were about to take the Compass test.

  1. What were your successes this year? (Student, personal. School or other)

I think the biggest success for me was teaching the welding program.  I truly enjoyed that.  The students loved math which was a bit of a change from my ordinary Adult Education students.  I became more reflective as a result of my goals which not only helped my confidence level, but I think made things better for my students as well. I have heard that it takes at least 3 or 4 years to be at your best in a teaching position.  I feel like I am really in a great spot in my career and increasing my effectiveness in the classroom more each year.

  1. What were your goals and what progress did you make? Evidence of?

Goal 1 – 4E – Reflecting on professional practice and engaging in a professional learning community

Reflecting on a regular basis has really been beneficial so far this year.  As a result of my reflection I have made several changes and improvements to my professional practice.  I relied on my own expertise as a teacher in developing materials for my Math for Welding class. Julie and I worked together to develop a wiki to collect and deliver instruction for the “A” Game curriculum.  I developed an edready course for implementation with welding students that was used with several of our students. It addressed all of the objectives from the math for welding course, and provided another avenue for students to practice and master those objectives in a different manner.  Not only did it help future welding students prepare for the course but it also helped current, struggling students review and practice those objectives in a new way.

Goal 2 – 3E – Using assessment in Instruction

For this goal, I had my students do all their work for me in a mathematics journal.  I corresponded with them in this journal, and provided feedback on where they are at in our mathematics curriculum.  It provided me a forum for checking for student understanding more effectively, and also a place where my students can also use reflection just how I did in the previous goal, about how, when, why, and where they learn the most effectively.  It was pretty effective for our regular students and also the welding class.  It will be something I will continue to incorporate.

  1. Any disappointments for the year?


  1. What will you want to do differently next year in advisement and in your classroom?

We are thinking of possibly shifting the schedule around a bit to possibly meet the needs of a larger number of students.

  1. How can I help you?

Continue to support Tammie and all the staff up here exactly as you have been and that is more than enough help.  I think our staff is very cohesive and effective, especially with Tammie at the helm and also with the addition of Julie Korb.

  1. Any key areas or ideas you want us to explore for a Paris focus for next year?


  1. How has the trauma informed information helped you this year?  Where do we go next with this topic?

We were already pretty aware of this.  I think we became increasingly aware through the training however, and as a result, I think it made us all more patient, tolerant, sensitive and helpful to our students who have come from traumatic backgrounds.  I think next year, it would be good to continue to be included in those trainings.

  1. Any final thoughts, ideas, concerns or suggestions?

The staff continues to become increasingly cohesive in how we work together.  We have become even more effective in helping our students achieve their goals.  Tammy is an OUTSTANDING Program Coordinator and Julie Korb very simply makes everyone around her more effective.


Mid year – Goal Post #4

Posted in 2015 - 2016 Professional Reflection on February 7, 2016 by Mister A

I have not been keeping up very well with my daily reflections as I have become busy working on some things that I discovered while reflecting.  At a staff meeting, Tammy suggested it would be good to develop some type of hybrid course for the A Game curriculum Julie has begun teaching in our program.  I have spent a great deal of time working with Julie on putting the lessons she has developed on a wiki.  The wiki can be found by clicking this sentence.

This wiki is really the 5th result or change I have made as a result of reflection.  I knew that developing a type of hybrid course, or at least a place to gather lesson materials, ideas, and resources could be very effectively done with the use of a wiki, so that is what Julie and I began doing.  Not only has it helped me learn more about the A Game and how to deliver instruction regarding those work ethic values, but I believe that it has helped Julie become more effective as well.  A lot has changed in educational technology since Julie left the classroom several years ago, that I believe can help teachers be more effective in a few ways.  I helped Julie learn some of this new technology, and although she is already an extremely effective teacher, I think some of the things I taught her may have helped her be even more effective.

The wiki is private so if you would like to take a look at it, let me know and I can give you a dummy account. It really isn’t meant to stand alone, but more as a collection point for teacher lessons, slide images, videos, and curricular packets.  We have been collecting those things to help us deliver the curriculum more effectively, either in small group or one on one settings.  It has been fun to do this and I have enjoyed learning more about the work ethic values taught in the A Game curriculum.korb trees1

In conclusion, I have made five changes in my practice now as a result of my reflection.  These changes have helped my students, my coworkers and me, improve our effectiveness in the classroom.  Becoming more regular in my daily reflection and simply teaching the weldjulie has a bearding program the way I teach are the first two ideas I implemented in my teaching practice.  Change 3 was creating a supplementary course in edready for the welding course I began teaching last fall.  The fourth change I made was to begin practicing gratitude on a more regular basis.  The final idea I began implementing in my teaching practice is described in the preceding paragraphs. I am having an excellent year.  The addition of Julie to our staff, has brought everybody up a level in their effectiveness.  It is nice to teach with someone that you really click with.




Goal Post #3 – End of Second 6 week period

Posted in 2015 - 2016 Professional Reflection on November 24, 2015 by Mister A

I think the name Goal Post for each of these posts is especially clever.  We just reached the end of our second six week period of the year and are doing another set of orientations.  It seems like this year is just whizzing by.  I think the six week periods, though, have turned into five week periods…which may or may not be good.  It probably doesn’t really matter.  So this is my third reflection of the year for my professional goal of becoming increasingly reflective and identifying changes to make as a result of that reflection.

First of all, to summarize how my goals are progressing, reflecting on a regular basis has really been beneficial so far this year.  I have made three changes as a result of my reflection, which have not only helped several of my students, but have also helped me with motivation and attitude. Besides becoming more regular in my daily reflection and simply teaching the welding program the way I teach (changes #1 and #2), I have implemented one new idea to my teaching practice.  The first of these is that I created an Edready course to supplement or deliver the 191B Math for Welding course.  It meets all of the objectives from said course, and provides another avenue for students to practice and master those objectives in a different manner.  Not only will it help future welding students prepare for the course but it will also help current, struggling students review and practice those objectives in a new way.

I really like the fact that our current superintendent, Ms. Lacey, uses twitter to share good ideas.  I began using it several years ago too, to both get good ideas and to share some as well.  Yesterday, I found a twitter link in her weekly message to an article about practicing gratitudeAfter reading the article, and in my reflection yesterday, I decided to try the experiment she suggested.  This will be the fourth idea I will implement in my teaching practice as a result of reflection.  The article, by Nataly Kogan, suggests three ways to begin practicing gratitude in your daily life.  It also discusses how doing so makes people better employees and provides research to back it.  The first thing she suggests is to begin thinking of three things each day that you are grateful for and writing them down on paper.  The second is to make a point to thank someone each day for something.  And finally, she recommended to pick a thing to savor each day.  I really liked her final suggestion.  There were three steps to savoring something.  The first is to spend a few minutes in anticipation.  The second was to really be present while savoring, which means no answering emails or texting during your savoring time.  And the final step was to spend a minute or two afterwards reflecting about the experience you just had with what ever it was that you savored.  I do not know if I am stretching things a bit here by using this as a part of my professional goals (Tammy could probably tell me if she ever comments on my blog), but the research she provided really promoted utilizing gratitude as a way to improve how well you work and handle stress in the work place.

I am very grateful for my job today.  It was first on my daily list…or maybe it was second.  I am having an excellent year…again, Julie K. has really added a ton of good things to our program…and having T. H. at the helm, makes our program a fantastic place to work. Anyhow, I love my job and feel lucky to be a teacher most days.  Today, my job is what I savored.

Oh yeah, and Tammy H., not the superintendent tammy, has yet to comment on any of my posts.  She is a busy lady.


Goal Post #2

Posted in 2015 - 2016 Professional Reflection, Professional Reflection on October 22, 2015 by Mister A

This is my second reflection of the year with regards to my professional goals for 2015-2016 school year.  I haven’t kept up with the journal I started as well as I had hoped as the new welding course I instructed was extremely time-consuming.  Since that class is completed now, I will have more time to focusing on my professional goals.  The first quarter of the school year is nearing an end and it seems like time just goes faster every year.  I am not sure how to measure the goal I have of  “improved professional reflection is”.  Let me know if you have any ideas Tammie:)  The change I will make as a result of this periodic blogpost is that I will begin writing daily in my reflective math journal.  I will set it on top of my computer so it is right in front of me to remind me to be more reflective on a more consistent basis.

I finished my first real adjunct professor teaching position last week and really learned a ton.  I think the class was mostly a success and a real learning experience for me.  Although many of my welding students were far beyond the curriculum and objectives of the course, they still showed a tremendous amount of growth based on a pre-TABE test and a post-TABE test I administered at the beginning of the course and the end of the course.  There was not one student who took both the pre and post tests who did not show a tremendous amount of growth.  I believe I differentiated very well to meet the needs of both higher level students and students who struggled a bit with mathematics.  I have a great curriculum set up now in D2L and am excited for the opportunity to teach the class again, if they offer it to me.  I feel blessed to have been able to teach the class and again, I feel like I really improved as an instructor because I taught it.  I think it helped our program too, as I now have a far better understanding of the welding program here at the college where our program is located, and I think it was beneficial to the college as well.  Our relationship with the college has only improved as a result of the classes I have taught in collaboration with them.

In the 094 developmental math course I teach in conjunction with the college seems to be going fairly well.  I began utilizing a program called Edready which is an online integrated learning system that other programs in the state have been using.  Previously, I was using a program called gradpoint, which I had success with, but I was asked to begin using Edready by my supervisor.  I think the success my students experience will be similar, as I believe that both programs are effective and that the biggest component that aids in my students success, is my own familiarity with the program.  It seems that a larger percentage of students are sticking with the 094 class than in previous years as 7 of my 10 enrolled students have continued to attend on a regular basis.  Historically, I usually finish with about half of the students I started with, so as far as attendance goes, we are a little ahead of the game at this point in the 094 class.

chic symph

Chicago Symphony PANO

As far as Hiset Preparation has gone so far this year, I believe I have learned to get students through that test.  No student has taken the test twice and failed it on both occasions (knock on wood).  I get a little frustrating that preparing a student for the HISET, preparing a student for the COMPASS, and preparing a student for a College level mathematics course, are such different animals.  Also, some of the strategies I utilize in prepping someone for the HiSET are not the most effective teaching methods to use when teaching for retention.  I have to constantly remind myself that the HISET is but a stepping stone, hopefully to improved educational opportunities or a better employment situation.  That is what I have been told anyhow.  I have become very familiar with the OPT2 practice test and find it very useful when instructing students.  Proportional reasoning continues to be an area that must be focused on for students to be successful.

Finally, the first quarter of the year really flew by.  I think that having Julie here has really improved a lot of areas of our program.  She is a phenomenal teacher, and I believe our program will continue to grow and improve as she continues to learn her new position.  She really seems to “GET ” education and what we are trying to accomplish up here.  It is great to have someone to bounce ideas off and get feedback from.  She has been a very welcome addition to our team.

edin and friends lunch

Edin with his NEW Friends

On a personal note, I visited my son at Northwestern University over teacher PIR days.  Man, what a cool school.  I think he has really settled in and found himself a new home.  The fact that he is so happy and learning like a sponge has eased some of the grief I have felt as a result of not having him around.  He spends his time with like minded and incredibly passionate and intelligent people.  I am both happy for him…and very lucky to be a part of his life.  I love watching him grow into an even FINER young man.

Domain 4E and Domain 3E

Posted in 2015 - 2016 Professional Reflection, Professional Reflection on September 18, 2015 by Mister A

I am being formally evaluated this year which occurs every three years in our district.  My goals last time were to begin a mathematics program to attain another endorsement on my teaching certificate.  I finished that last December.  It was a difficult couple of years as far as how busy I was with things, and I vowed to my wife not to go back to school again, ever, as it was pretty stressful.  But it is a great feeling to finally be done and certifiable as a teacher in our state until 2024.  I learned a lot in the math program, and even won a small scholarship to help pay for my last couple of classes.  I was able to take some face to face classes for the first time since I got my initial teaching certificate which was great because I was able to see how other teachers taught in an environment similar to the one I am currently in.  But as a teacher you should always have some type of goals, which is the purpose of this blog post.

For my goals this time around, I have chosen to look back into working on professional reflection and improving my professional learning network.  I have fallen away from that a bit over the last couple of years, as my mathematics course load left time for little else.  However, I missed writing in my blog as it provides me with an outlet to really think about what I am doing in my classroom, what others are doing in their classrooms, and how I can better serve my students.  People should probably do that in every profession in which you have clients, which is pretty much, every profession.  I plan to try and write a reflective post every couple of weeks and also keep a written log of day to day things in my classroom, as I am having several of my students do the same thing.  Okay, this is getting a bit longwinded, so I will cut to the chase.

The official title of my first goal is Domain 4E:Reflecting on Professional Practice and Engaging in a professional learning community.  I believe I have a pretty good one established with twitter and perhaps my blog, although, probably not a lot of people read my blog anymore.  I have neglected these things over the past couple of years, but since our superintendent is kind of pushing this type of thing a little bit, maybe it is a good time to get back to it.  I hope to be able to share some of the things I have learned with regards to social media, with some of the teachers I work with during the course of the year.  I believe some of them will be open to it, while others, will not.  I probably need to work harder at sharing with other staff, if that other staff has any interest.

Domain 3E: Using Assessment in Instruction is the official title of my second goal.  This is the third or fourth time they have changed the way they do formal evaluations in our district and it seems like they are just using different words to describe the same things they did in the previous methods of evaluation.  For this goal, I plan to have my students do all their work for me in a mathematics journal.  I will correspond with them in this journal, and provide feedback on where they are at in the mathematics curriculum.  It will provide my a forum for checking for student understanding more effectively, and also a place where my students can also use the habit of mind of metacognition (reflection) about how, when, why, and where they learn the most effectively.

If anyone has any questions, comments, suggestions, or even reads this blog post, please feel free to comment on it.

On a Personal Note: My oldest son is off to college.  He has turned out pretty good so far, and I am extremely excited for him.  He is in an environment in which I believe he will truly flourish, even more so than he already has.  He has such passion and love for his chosen field, that the sadness I felt about his absence, was greatly diminished by the excitement I could see in his and my beautiful wife’s eyes.  Indeed, I am a lucky man.