Preparing Feedback for Upcoming Classes
The aim of FeedbackPanda is to reduce the time spent on the pre-class and post-class busywork while maintaining or improving the quality of our teaching. One of the best time-saving tips is to enter your feedback before your classes start. This is an especially useful habit if you have commitments right after your classes.
Teachers with Many Regular Students
While all FBP users can benefit from getting into the routine of prepping feedback before classes, teachers who have the same students week after week will find this to be of particular help. In my case, I teach about forty to fifty classes per week, and 99% of them are regulars. For me, prefilling information saves time for a couple of reasons. I know these students well, and I can predict how they will perform in the lessons.
If I’ve been working on eliminating the extra syllable that many Chinese speakers add to the ends of their words (e.g. don’t-uh, want-uh), I can include this talking point in the feedback. Doing this helps me to remember to comment on it when I am ready to submit the feedback to the parent.
As I’m prefilling my feedback, I can double-check what happened in the last lesson. FBP helps me to recall the important events of the prior lessons. From my prior feedback, I will remind myself of specifics such as meeting the mom in the last class, but not the dad because he was too shy. Because FBP is a centralized resource of all information related to a student, I can use it to remind me of birthdays, likes and dislikes, and where they live. When the students’ American teacher remembers such easily forgotten bits and pieces, they feel so special!
The browser tabs help you easily find the students you want to enter data for.
Jot Down Notes While Teaching
My mornings are often a caffeine-fueled blur, teaching three or more hours straight. Often, I can’t remember each student I taught that day. If I do remember, the days and students are fused together as a large, indistinguishable mass inside my brain.
I’ve recently tried to implement something new to combat this loss of memory. I have FBP tabs open for every student while I’m teaching. Fortunately, the name of the student is displayed on the tab. Immediately after the class, I will quickly type out some phrases in the FBP feedback box to jog my memory later. It takes me all of fifteen seconds to do this. Of course, it helps that I type about 80 wpm–this may not be as easy for teachers who lack quick and nimble fingers. Notes can be typed in either box; I’ve recently realized I can use the Teacher’s Notes for this:
Your notes only need to be wordy enough to assist your memory. You can clean up the details after your classes.
You don’t have to open all the FBP tabs for your classes that day. You can open one at a time, as you enter each classroom, utilizing the Panda icon. The reason why I don’t is simple–I forget to do it, and that means I would have to open it while my class is in session. Subsequently, my attention would be taken away from the student, and my train of thought broken.
I don’t recommend typing out notes during class. The clacking of the keys can be heard by the students, even through a headset mic. Plus, the teacher’s gaze will move towards a different part of the screen, making it obvious that the attention is not placed on the student even for a few seconds.
Don’t forget to change the calendar day.
After Your Last Class
When you’ve finished your last class, you’re probably hungry, thirsty, and wanting a bath. Because you’ve prepped your feedback the night before, and perhaps filled in some information after each class, you only need to clean up the details and hit submit. Breakfast and a shower are only minutes away! It’s best to only prefill for the next day’s classes. Often, classes may change or be canceled if you’re outside the 24-hour timeframe.
I might spend about two minutes more on each student, bringing it to just over fifteen minutes. Added to the five minutes total that I spent the night before prefilling my information, and then the between-class note-jotting, my total feedback time is about twenty-five minutes for eight classes! Many teachers who like to submit feedback between classes will find prefiling to be a big timesaver too. I’m not organized or quick enough to submit feedback in less than five minutes, and my classes often end at the 28 or 29-minute mark.
Do I always prefill my feedback? Truthfully, I do not–especially when I am feeling lazy. However, I see an improvement on time spent when I do the prep work. One of my goals is to start prefilling more often, as I’ve seen my time management and organization maximized when I complete this task the day before my classes. The beauty of FeedbackPanda is its versatility, allowing teachers to experiment with so many variables and to find the perfect fit for their lives.