Monday, November 28, 2011


My evaluation is over and I had a calm, peaceful feeling while it was happening. The principal smiled as he walked out of the room and said, "You did really well." I guess that means I'm an okay teacher. My students were angels and I didn't even bribe them with candy. I suppose it could have had something to do with the fact that they've been staying up way too late during the Thanksgiving break. A couple of weeks ago when I scheduled this evaluation, I mentioned to the class that "one of these days" the principal would be visiting to see how well each of them was trying to learn math. Yes, I shoved the burden completely onto them. Perhaps they remembered that comment when he sat himself down at my desk this morning.

So, while I was teaching my guts out and remembering to use positive specific praise and making sure each child knew what the objective was and using a variety of technologies, our class had a pretty good dialogue about prime and composite numbers. I didn't tell them what they were, but I led them through an activity so that they might figure out what they are on their own. My heart rejoiced when one girl raised her hand and said, "I think I know what a prime number is." We wrote the definitions down, in the students' very own terms, to create a network of meaning for the class to reference. I listened to their comments. I answered their questions. We got to the point where I assigned independent work. And as we were wrapping up and I was feeling like the kids had this concept in the bag, one boy raised his hand and clearly asked, "What is a composite number?" That rejoicing heart of mine sank a few notches down and I praised him for asking a question instead of pretending he knew. I went straight to his desk to do some reteaching. When the principal decided to leave, I caught him at the door and said, "Nothing like a killer question at the very end to let you know someone didn't get it." The principal said, "It happens all the time." It does? Oh good. Maybe I'm not a failure.

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