This week’s SuperStar Teacher needs no introduction, she is Teacher Caryn! Her templates on FeedbackPanda have been imported over 125528 times and have led to her celebrity status in the VIPKID world. Do you ever wonder what her process is like or why she uses those square brackets? Read on…
Tell us about yourself:
I am a championship level Irish Dancer. I have been dancing for close to ten years and compete in local and regional competitions called Feis. In the next few years, I am going to be working towards passing my TCRG (Irish Dance Teacher Examination) so I can become certified to be an Irish Dance teacher.
In addition to dance, I also love to knit and crochet. One of my favorite things to knit are socks. I am currently living in Mekés, Morocco for the next four months, so I am trying to learn Darija (Moroccan Arabic).
Tricks for staying alert:
I am oddly a morning person, so I normally don’t have too much trouble waking up for my classes. I also don’t eat or drink during my classes because it upsets my stomach. I try to avoid caffeine, but I do like a good cup of English Breakfast tea with lots of cream and sugar.
Favorite Lesson to teach:
I really like the People in My Family Unit (Level Two, Unit Four) as well as most of the higher levels (Levels 4, 5, and 6).
What do you do in between classes?
During my five minute break, I try to complete my parent and teacher feedback using Feedback Panda of course! Sometimes, I will put away props from early classes as well as organize my props for upcoming classes. Once in a blue moon, I will actually get to stand up and stretch my legs.
How do you use FeedbackPanda?
The day before classes, I will open up each lesson in the classroom and set up that class and student in Feedback Panda. If I don’t have a template for that class, I will spend about ten minutes writing one. I always make sure to list what props I use for that lesson in the template notes section.
I also write down in the student notes what reward I will be using. If I am teaching a student that I have previously taught, I make sure to check my teacher to teacher feedback from the last lesson to see if there is anything the student should work on in the next class as well as anything I wan to remember (i.e. technically issues, parents giving answers, something the student really likes). It normally takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to prep for my classes. One average, I teach six classes each morning.
In between classes, I open up each template and personalize it for that student. I always make sure to include words the student should practice saying or reading at home along with personal touches like what we talked about in class or if the student told me something interesting. I try to complete my feedback as soon as possible so I can remember what happened in class. I also write down very brief notes during the actual class but, most of the time, I can’t read my handwriting afterwards when I go back to look at my notes. With the help of Feedback Panda, I am normally able to finish feedback for my six classes in about ten to fifteen minutes.
Describe your Feedback Style/Structure:
I like to include detailed information about what the student learned in class. I start off with restating the learning objective in my own words as well as saying something like: “[name] did a wonderful job in class!” If it is a higher level lesson, I like to list the new vocabulary words that they learned as well as what story or text they read. I try to include a summary for each main activity like grammar, reading, speaking, phonics, and math. At the end of my feedback, I like to include what we talked about if there was extra time or if we read a story together. I started teaching back when stars would sometimes not always show up for the student, so I always make sure to include that the student earned five stars, and I enjoyed teaching them. I always sign off as: Thanks! — Teacher Caryn EU. I have a hard time only writing one or two sentences for parent feedback. I like to be thorough but not too wordy. I want the parent to feel like I wrote my feedback just for them about their child. I don’t want the parent to think I used a template (even though I did!).
Good Feedback Must Contain…
…enough details that the parent understands what their child learned in class along with areas they need to keep practicing.
What do you like to see when checking the Teacher to Teacher Feedback (notes on students from teachers in the VIPKID portal)?
I like to know if the student really likes something or if there were behavioral/IT issues. I am not really interested in seeing parent feedback copied and pasted into the teacher to teacher feedback. If it is more than 2–3 sentences, I just don’t have time to read it all. Keep it short and simple.
Notes or comments to the teachers who import your templates?
I use [brackets] rather than quotation marks because, when I first started teaching, I would write my feedback in Google Docs. When I pasted the feedback from Google Docs, it would add weird spaces around quotation marks. I didn’t want to have to go back and delate the extra spaces, so I started using brackets. Even though I no longer use Google Docs, I never stopped using brackets.
Any other comments you wish to communicate… : )
I am so honored by how many teachers use and love my feedback! I never thought I would develop such an amazing fan club through Feedback Panda. I just want to thank everyone so much. I have received so much love and nice comments. It truly makes my day to hear that teachers like my templates.