Category Archives: teacher evaluations

My Christmas Bonus

by Eric Gjerde

A couple of weeks ago we had our New Tech coach visit our school to evaluate our progress implementing the PBL model. My classes were using Socratic circles to discuss their genocide research. We had a meeting afterwards and she was very impressed in where our school is for a first year PBL school.

In my individual meeting with the coach she gave me positive feedback about my class. She gave me what I consider to be a great compliment when she said, “You don’t really follow the PBL model, but don’t change anything.” What she meant is that the model can be a formula to help teachers learning how to teach PBL, but that I had personalized it using my own language and methods.

I am not going to lie, that meant a lot to me. It definitely made my day month. To me it was validation from an unbiased outsider. To me that is all I am looking for in my job. For people to recognize that I care about kids and am trying to create meaningful learning experiences for them. There was no formal write-up that went into my file, good or bad. It will not be published in the paper or used in any official way. I will not get a raise or any financial gain from it.

An Agate embed

In my previous life I worked pouring concrete floors. We got bonuses twice a year including at Christmas. We always looked forward to getting some extra money. I also saw the negative side of bonuses as some guys “expected” to get a certain size bonus and would get angry if they did not. Others would compare their bonus checks and be jealous of others who got more than they did. The bonuses did not create a collaborative atmosphere in the company. So I know what it is like to get that kind of bonus, and I can honestly say that the compliment from a former PBL teacher meant at least as much as money to me.

I have not always felt valued and appreciated in my previous teaching jobs. But I am having my best year ever with freedom to create my own curriculum this year. I am proud to be a teacher, a professional. To be recognized as such is all the Christmas bonus I need.