Sunday, 13 September 2009

My Mark

A nice scale

At his blog Mr. Teacher quotes a wonderful scale of marks by Dr. Terry Haydn with which I can rate my lessons on a scale of 1 through 10, which is the usual range for marks in The Netherlands.

A colleague observes my art room. She considered this to be a very organised lesson in a happy atmosphere. But I can have other ruminations: did they learn what I taught them or are they just happy with smearing paint on a paper while chatting with each other?

Mark your teacher

Until now I have been using a different system: Once in a while I distribute small papers to all students and exhort them to scribble their mark for my performance on it before leaving the class room, anonymously of course, "just drop it in the box on my desk".

I only do this when I actually don't know how they experienced my lesson. Every so often a lesson is extremely joyful and interesting with wonderful communication among students and their teacher, lots of curious questions and excellent results in images. I know that I deserve a 9 then. In other instances I know that I blew it completely. I had to expel a student, which made the rest of them restive and disobedient, or the artistic quality of the work is so meagre that I can only conclude that all my efforts came to no avail. Then I know I deserve an insufficient mark, ranging from 1 to 5, depending on the depravity of the experience.

The Questionnaire

Of course my school asks me to use regularly a questionnaire in which students can tick off their assessment of my work on an extensive list of qualities. This gives detailed information over a prolonged period. The results mostly match my personal view on the particular group of students. Most students think I am a good teacher, but I definitely have some flaws. For example: I am rather chaotic and my mood changes quickly which can make them feel insecure at times. Those aspects can not be changed easily as they are embedded in my personality, but at least I can try to work on them. Sometimes a group makes me aware of a sore spot: "No group work at all this semester?," no, indeed, I didn't even think of it. I just lost track. But such a thing can be repaired instantly.

But the questionnaire can not replace the quick marking at the end of a lesson which gives immediate feedback on the fifty minutes before.

My mark

So I can compare my personal rating system with Dr Terry Haydn's. The best I can get from my students after a lesson is an average of 7. Haydn's list would rate my lessons with an 8. But in the Dutch rating system a 10 is virtually unattainable, in Haydn's system it is. I know some colleagues who definitely deserve Haydn's 10. So let's settle for my mark at 7.5. I guess that would be a B in the Anglo-Saxon marking range. Not too bad. It leaves something to strive for.


Joan said...

I love the picture of your art room. Oh how I wish we had art teachers at our school.

Joep said...

Thank you for your appreciation. Having seen your blog, I believe they do have an art teacher at your school though. I like the way you incorporate art work in your lessons.