Written by Jennifer Ansbach, author of Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation: How to Grow Professionally and Get a Good Evaluation.
As I wrote Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation, I was thinking about how I could make it more useful and began reflecting on the professional development experiences that shaped my own growth. One of the best experiences I had was when a group of us would meet regularly on part of our prep period to discuss our students' work and our own planning and feedback to students. This powerful experience, shared across disciplines and grade levels, helped me focus on questions such as “What do good directions to students look like? How can I help my students see what doing their best work looks like?” or even “How can I ask better questions?” We would meet and bring samples of student products along with the assignment itself, with each of us given time to present our artifacts and questions and then listen while others offered their ideas for our consideration. Many others conduct this kind of collegial study, and it helps keep the focus on how we can improve student learning and student work.