SPMS Classroom Teacher Survey: Philosophy and Classroom Practices

(CLASSROOM TEACHERS ONLY) Please take the following survey that will provide us all with some insightful information on the teaching philosophies, instructional practices and teacher needs at SPMS. It will help us see where we are now and where we want to go down the road. This is a totally anonymous survey so PLEASE be honest! Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this survey. I promise you will get the 10-15 minutes back during teacher work week!

  1. As of June 2006, how many years of teaching have you completed?
    less than five years
    more than 5, less than 10
    more than 10, less than 15
    more than 15, less than 20
    more than 20 years

  1. I teach:
    one of the 4 core subject areas (math, science, English/reading, social studies, exceptional ed)

  1. Which of the following BEST describes your feelings on the "All Kids Can Learn" philosophy?
    All students can learn, but the extent of their learning is determined by their innate ability or aptitude. This aptitude is relatively fixed, and as teachers we have little influence over the extent of student learning. It is our job to create multiple programs or tracks that address the different abilities of students and then guide students to the appropriate program where they have an optimum opportunity to master material appropriate to their ability.
    All students can learn if they elect to put forth the necessary effort. It is our job to provide all students with this opportunity to learn, and we fulfill our responsibility when we attempt to present lessons that are both clear and engaging. In the final analysis, however, while it is our job to teach, it is the student's job to learn. We should invite students to learn but honor their decision if they elect not to do so.
    All students can learn and that it is our responsibility to help each student demonstrate some growth as a result of their experience with us. The extent of the growth will be determined by a combination of the student's innate ability and effort. It is our job to encourage all students to learn as much as possible, but the extent of their learning is dependent on factors over which we have little control.
    All students can and must learn at relatively high levels of achievement. It is our job to create an environment in our classrooms that results in this high level of performance. I am confident that with our support and help, students can master challenging academic material and we expect them to do so. I am prepared to work collaboratively with colleagues, students and parents to achieve this shared educational purpose.

  1. Which THREE of the following do you believe are the most important objectives that middle school education should have? (Be sure to clarify your #1 choice, #2 choice and #3 choice)
        1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Mastery of content in science, history, algebra and literature  
    Developing talent in the performing arts or athletics.  
    Competence in writing and oral communication.  
    Learning to reason carefully and use evidence well.  
    Being able to work well in groups, and understand different views.  
    Being interested and able to learn independently.  
    Wanting to help others and contribute to the general community.  
    Developing skills in using computers to analyze and present ideas  

  1. How useful are each of the following kinds of assessments for you in judging how well students are learning?

            1 2 3 4 5      
      Short-answer and multiple choice tests Not useful Essential  
      Essay tests Not useful Essential  
      Open ended questions Not useful Essential  
      Individual and group projects Not useful Essential  
      Standardized test results Not useful Essential  
      Student presentations/performances Not useful Essential  

  1. About how often do students in your classes take part in the following types of activities?

            1 2 3 4 5      
      Work individually answering questions in the textbook or worksheets. Never Almost everyday  
      Do hands-on/laboratory activities Never Almost everyday  
      Work on projects that take a week or more Never Almost everyday  
      Write in a journal Never Almost everyday  
      Suggest or help plan classroom activities or topics Never Almost everyday  
      Work in small groups to come up with a joint solution or approach to a problem or task Never Almost everyday  
      Work on problems for which there is no obvious method of solution Never Almost everyday  
      Write an essay in which they are expected to explain their thinking or reasoning at some length Never Almost everyday  

  1. When you ask students questions in class, how often are you trying to accomplish the following goals?

            1 2 3 4 5      
      See if students know the correct answer Never Always  
      See if students have done the homework Never Always  
      Get students to justify and explain their reasoning Never Always  
      Have students relate what they are working on to their own personal experiences Never Always  

  1. How often do you:

            1 2 3 4 5      
      Work with other teachers on curriculum planning beyond handing each other worksheets, lessons, etc. Never Daily  
      Talk with other teachers about teaching strategies and best instructional practices Never Daily  
      Spend time reflecting about your past lessons and planning (researching, creating) new ones Never Daily  
      Ask a colleague about particular topic which you had difficulty teaching to your students. Never Daily  

  1. Teachers sometimes feel pressured to teach in ways that are inconsistent with their best judgment and beliefs of effective teaching methods. To what extent do you honestly WANT to do and BELIEVE in the following to provide the best instruction for your students.

            1 2 3 4 5      
      To have students work effectively in groups DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      Effective integration of technology in my lessons DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To productively collaborate with other teachers in planning and evaluation of student work DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To visit another teacher's classroom to observe their teaching if coverage can be provided for my class if the time conflicts with my planning period. DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To prepare students to be ready for standardized tests. DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To have students do projects that will enhance their learning and produce something that is worthwhile DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To have a quiet class, even if that means they are not engaged. DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To use "higher order" thinking and "problem solving" skills frequently in my lessons DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To teach what next year's teachers expect my students to know. DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To use more "performance based" assessments instead of objective multiple-choice tests DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  
      To use the textbook as the main resource to guide me through curriculum DO NOT WANT TO DO WANT TO DO MORE OF  

  1. Do you feel grades are a motivating factor for students in their learning?

  1. Have you personally observed an increase in a student's homework completion after assigning zeros for not doing previous assignments?

  1. Do you believe that if grades did not exist students would not be exhibit an interest in learning?

  1. Do you feel that grades should ONLY reflect mastery of content?

  1. Have you ever changed a zero to a 50 so that a student's final grade would not drop significantly?

  1. Do you accept any late assignments?

  1. Have you ever boosted a student's grade because they showed effort rather than mastery of the content?

  1. Have you had a student in your class who clearly understood the content you taught and had the ability to receive better grades but failed your class for other reasons?

  1. Have you ever consciously limited the number of "A's" given to students on assignments?

  1. Have you ever developed and distributed a rubric for students to have before working on a project?

  1. Have you ever shown students examples of "A" work or "Not so good" work for your projects/problem solving activities, etc.?

  1. Do you feel that including behaviors when calculating grades within an assignment or as a part of a student's final grade is necessary? (not doing an assignment, effort shown, responsibility, attitude, class participation)

  1. If a significant number of students did not peform well on a test you have given, have you ever gone back to re-teach the material in a DIFFERENT WAY and then re-test on that same material?

  1. If I had the "power" to drive what we do at SPMS for professional development, I would select these top 3 activities. (SELECT YOUR TOP 3 PICKS)
        1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    allow me to work alone in my classroom  
    incorporate small group discussions related to educational issues facilitated by staff members  
    work with my grade level subject area teachers to create common assessments at the end of each term and/or look at data of assessments taken by students  
    large group meetings with individual teachers as presenters  
    meet with grade level colleagues to identify students in need of extra support and come up with intervention strategies to get them on track  
    work with a colleague of my choice to plan lessons  
    work with my grade level subject area teachers to discuss pacing and effective instructional strategies and lessons that work  
    information sessions or workshops led by guest speakers (central office, motivational speakers, staff members from other schools, other educational experts, etc.)  

  1. What are your personal thoughts on the need for teachers to re-think and re-evaluate their approach to instructional methods/strategies and other classroom practices and its relation to 21st century learners and the needs of millenial students? Do you see the need for reform? Do you personally feel that you need to re-think your methods and classroom practices? Are you invested and willing to do so? Explain the "why's" or "why not's".

  1. In terms of instructional leadership at SPMS (adminstration, advisory committee, dept. heads, other teacher leaders), what can we do "better" or "more of" to help you as a classroom teacher?

Assistant Principal
Tuckahoe Middle School
Richmond, VA