The Audit II Follow-Up

My intention was to drop that self-audit on Saturday and then catch comments on Monday ’cause the blogsphere is supposed to hibernate over the weekend. Then I filmed an Indian wedding all of Saturday (crazy-fun. one of the coolest weddings I’ve shot.) came home at 23h00 and crashed, totally missing all the commentary you guys threw back and forth.

Including, but not limited to:

  • Ryan and TMAO, who left excerpts from their own course surveys, the student suggestions of which make my harshest criticism feel like an affirming pat on the fanny.
  • Jep, Tony, basically everybody, et al, recommend greater frequency for this audit.

    Jackie wants to compare data points at the start of the year and the end.

    Patrick favors a per-unit or per-activity approach for immediate self-reflection.

    Vivek pinpoints exactly why this whole thing felt a bit inaccurate, why the respondents seemed overly enamored of yrs trly: “on the last day you’re either biased in favour or against a teacher. rarely accurate.”

  • Todd, feeling pretty piqued I scooped him on this whole audit thing, tries to box my ears by asking, “What are your actual plans to address these things?” To which I reply:

    Waitaminit: I’m supposed to change here?

    Okay, okay, lessee: it was already my intention to keep everything the students voted to keep. (Except “the funness [sic] of the class,” of course. That’s gotta go.) The trickier question is how to implement their suggested changes.

    Four students voted to lose the one-minute board, which, unfortunately, is my disciplinary bread-and-butter so it’s not going anywhere. I’ll reconsider how frequently I use it, though.

    Two students asked for more group projects. During the infancy of my career, group projects seemed like an good way to complete learning objectives as slowly as possible. It isn’t inconceivable that I just sucked at scaffolding and facilitating these activities so I’ll throw a few back on the schedule and then ply Patrick’s suggestion to see if it worked for my class, if it worked for me.

    Three students suggested less classwork, which, yeah right, guys.

    Apparently, 42 out of 80 students would change nothing if given god-like power, so, I mean, what am I supposed to do with that kind of inarticulation? Except blame their English teachers, obviously.

  • Re H.‘s two queries:

    My no-clock-having tendencies arise from deep, deep insecurities. A kid staring at a timepiece over my shoulder, counting down the minutes in her head (which, I swear I can hear) throws me pretty well off my game. Oh sure I could just develop more engaging activities or maybe limit my non-stop lecturing to thirty-minute blocks, but, but, that’d be hard. Prying the clock off the wall is way easier.

    Math basketball, kind of a big-time survey winner here, is just a sick sick way to review. Never met a class that didn’t enjoy it. The appropriate ratio here is basically:

    Math basketball maxes out all those variables. Gonna blog that review game plus a few others before the new school year.

That assessment thing, I’ve got that one, I think. Or, at least, I haven’t received unique criticism for some time.

This is all uncharted, though. More frequent auditing sounds appealing for all the reasons suggested, though it couldn’t happen in this form, not given the fat lot of time this form took to tabulate. I’m kinda feeling all of this out, which makes all this input pretty invaluable. Even if I missed it in real-time.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Dan, sounds like you’ve given some good thought to what students have said. As an administrator, I’ve been used the same type of thing, except much longer and in more detail and with a 1 to 6 scale. This definitely gives one a much better read on how things are going. I did this in my first year at my present school and then again this year. I’m also working on a parental survey and a student survey which will give me feedback on what students perceptions. As a school, we just finished a great survey on student perceptions of school and different activities at the school. You might try to use an online survey format, like surveymonkey which does a pretty good job of these types of surveys and gives you printouts of comments.
    The negative/disgruntled comments are the ones that provide the greatest insight into how those who are marginalized are feeling.
    See, I’m not always passive aggressive! Oh, and on the survey – did well – with 80% support from teachers in the building. If you’re interested, I could send you the entire document in PDF format. How many administrators you work with do surveys?

  2. Glad that you’re considering more student projects with an eye on scaffolding prep.

    And agree with a previous commenter that there are opportunities to get the kids involved in setting goals early on in the year that are then woven into the end-of-the-year reflection re: the class and your teaching.

    Also think — as someone mentioned earlier — that there is value in the kids doing periodic reviews throughout the year. Quick bursts. Aligned with key objectives and year benchmarks.

    Keep the sarcasm, however. Vital to their health and well-being!