Tuesday, December 6, 2011

teaching update

So it's been four months since I've moved to Taiwan and started teaching English for a living. I had my first official classroom observation by my principal back in October and we finally got the results of that today. How it works at our school is that our score is made up of several components. One of the components is the classroom observation, the others include surveys taken by your students, surveys from your co-workers, number of students that come back to your classes and I think that is about it. Since a majority of my classes are very young students they thought it was hilarious to give me all bad marks and then show me that they had "failed" me. Yes so funny when my teaching score is dependent on it. I think besides knowing what you need to improve on in your teaching method, this scoring also determines who gets a performance bonus at our school. Before I came to the school only the top 5 teachers got a bonus but that was changed to any teacher who scored over a 85 would get the bonus. Each point over 85 would get you $200 NT. You won't see anyone getting over 90. Another bonus is based purely on your classroom observation score and each point over 85 will get you $150 NT. As of now I haven't gotten my classroom observation score yet.

Today at our school meeting we were each given a slip of paper with our score, the top teachers score (anonymous of course) and the average score amongst all the teachers. I knew my classroom observation had gone well but I also know there was a lot of other factors. I wasn't really confident that I would do well. Not only was I one of the newest teachers but I came in with literally zero experience. Everyone else either had worked at the school for months now or already had prior English teaching experience. I was super stressed out the first time I started teaching a classroom by myself, not having a clue what activities I should be doing or really how I should go about teaching young kids, or time management. Also I was losing a lot of my older students who were too busy with their Chinese schoolwork to bother learning something they had no interest in learning. That and a myriad of small little things that I was doing wrong and being brought to my attention, made me feel like I was coming up short and it depressed me. Sure I thought the kids loved me but if they never tell their parents, the higher ups in my schools won't know and thus won't see me in a valuable light.
Despite all that, I was actually super surprised to find that I had scored just 0.05 points below that of the highest scoring teacher. I'm still pretty shocked and doing little mini congratulatory dances inside. Of course none of the teachers talk about their scores since it determines who gets a bonus or not but I'm just glad to be able to have scored so high as an inexperienced newb teacher. It gave me the validation I sourly needed. Anyone who knows me knows I value that validation and praise like I value air. Yes its petty and selfish but man I'm proud of myself and if I can't be myself on my blog and boast about how well I'm doing then why even bother keeping one. It's nice to know that I'm a pretty good teacher and that I didn't drop my entire life back in America for naught. Our second round of observations is coming in January, I don't expect to be the best or even do as well since its all based on what class is observed and I was lucky enough that it was my best class last time, but at least this time I'll have more confidence in myself and hopefully not freak out as much.


  1. you have a mini dance? haha

    carol, i am so freaking proud of you. those little kids do love you and show it after all. this time, runner up, maybe next time you'll come in first place? i'm so happy to hear of what you've accomplished. seriously, dude, i hope you will get more validation and praises for your good work as you go because you deserve it/need it to live because it's your air.

  2. Ahh! Carol, this is amazing news :) I'm so happy for you!!! Wooooooooo.

  3. glad to know you're not corrupting your kids. hahaha. jk. great job carol!!!

  4. Congratulations! I always knew you were good with kids!