Independent Learners

As I was looking through the evaluation model (based on Danielson's model) that my school will be implementing last year, I started to have a panic attack about the student independent learning component.

In the Danielson Framework, Domain 2 covers Classroom Environment and the sub-section, 2b covers Establishing a Culture for Learning. To earn “Distinguished,” there should be evidence that:

  • The teacher communicates passion for the subject.

  • The teacher conveys the satisfaction that accompanies a deep understanding of complex content.

  • Students indicate through their questions and comments a desire to understand the content.

  • Students assist their classmates in understanding the content.

  • Students take initiative in improving the quality of their work.

  • Students correct one another in their use of language.

I highlighted the last three because when I was reading, that was the exact place where my throat seemed to sting with bile and my stomach started churning with the eventuality of throwing up.

I work with wonderful students, but I work with students who struggle. Because they aren’t independent learners in specific content areas (reading and writing in my case), they come for extra support and intervention. They often are confused about how to connect with material on their own, let alone able to teach another student what to do.

But, of course, they can do anything. And they can show me that my anxiety about an evaluation is silly.

While finishing grading an assessment, I looked over at the table where two of my students were reading together and noticed one teaching the other. “This word has the ee sound. See the rime? That makes the sound eet.” It was perfect. I’m not sure that will happen when my principal comes in for his evaluation, but my evaluation tells me I’m going to be OK.

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