PREPARING: Teacher Reflection June, 2001, one year later
The main thing I see in watching this is that this part of the film does not reflect our school as it is now. The amount of preparation our first group of students had to do was enormous. The amount of one-to one coaching they got was enormous. Instead of cramming for exams, they were cramming for portfolio presentations. When we looked
at the film
as a staff, we realized that this was not how we wanted our students to prepare
for their presentations. The presentations should ideally be an opportunity
for them to show off a subject that they know well, and work they have done
independently. Though we are not yet where we would like to be, this year
already different. The students are more independent, and need much less help with choosing and editing pieces. Next years seventh graders will be in a very different situation; already they have excellent finished pieces from their sixth grade year in their portfolio boxes and they will create more next year. By eighth grade, they should be able to pull their best work from their collections, and portfolio preparation will mostly consist of preparing the exhibition, not the work to go into the exhibition.
I also notice
how far the kids in the film have come this year. I watch myself rushing around
dealing with a line of kids needing help last year, and realize that this
year I feel barely needed. The same students I see asking for help constantly
in the video clips have this year consistently produced good work, without
help, on schedule. So the constant need for help and
advice most of the students showed last year seems to have matured into independence and good work habits. Now it is the avoiders and the procrastinators we need to worry about. There were two students who we had to chase down last year, and again this year. They managed to pass, but the push came from teachers and advisors, not from within themselves. How can we best help this kind of student? Are they not ready, or is this a part of their character that may take a long time to change, or may never change?
There are always more questions.