Tabular summary of Teaching Reflections
*strengths, areas for growth, proposed actions, results of implementation efforts
Part A: Self-Assessment
I am responding for all courses taught in one group (one response total).
List of courses in group by prefix and number: EDRE 4450, EDEE 3320, EDCI 4060
I have clustered my responses by type of course (e.g., all online together, all graduate together, all undergraduate together)
Type of courses in cluster: all undergraduate
Area of Professional Responsibility Related to Teaching
|Needs Development||Not Applicable|
|I possess a firm command of course content.||X|
|I keep current in course topics.||X|
|I provide clearly stated content learning objectives.||X|
|I set high expectations for student learning.||X|
|I maintain an appropriate level of rigor for content and reading materials.||X|
|I explain how each topic is relevant to the course as a whole.||X|
|Teaching Methods and Delivery|
|I present material in an organized manner and clearly explain material to students.||X|
|I utilize various instructional methods to support diverse styles of thinking and learning.||X|
|I point out to students any practical application of course concepts.||X|
|I clearly communicate assessment criteria and assignment deadlines.||X|
|I assess students related to course objectives using varied assessment methods.||X|
|I answer students’ questions thoroughly.||X|
|I support student learning by linking course material to students’ prior knowledge and experiences.||X|
|I demonstrate enthusiasm for course material and its delivery.||X|
|I stimulate students’ intellectual interests in the course content.||X|
|I start and end classes on time, if applicable.||X|
|I make an effort to get to know students in the course.||X|
|I am available to assist students during regularly scheduled office hours.||X|
|I respond within 48 hours to students’ emails or phone calls (if appropriate).||X|
|I advise and mentor students appropriately.||X|
|I provide continuous and timely feedback related to student achievement.||X|
|Assessment of Instruction|
|I invite peers and/or supervisors to observe and evaluate my teaching.||X|
|I use student feedback to improve my instruction. (Student evaluations or other)||X|
|Learning Materials and Resources|
|I set forth grading procedures and other class policies in each syllabus.||X|
|I keep current all required texts, readings, and assignments.||X|
Part B: Use of Instructional Strategies
The table below includes possible teaching methods and assessment techniques. Best practices indicate that a variety of methods should be used to engage students and to evaluate learning outcomes. Please indicate how often you used each of the following items during the current evaluation period by marking the desired response to each item with an X.
Type of Method
|Teaching Methods and Strategies|
|Instructor-led questioning of whole class (Socratic method)||X|
|Students working in cooperative learning teams||X|
|Students engaging in discussion in an online forum||X|
|Other (Please describe)|
|Use of Materials and Methods During Class|
|I provide students with a visual representation of the material to be covered during or prior to class activities.||X|
|Students complete in-class activities related to application of knowledge and skills to real-world problems (problem-based learning).||X|
|I encourage students to develop and use critical-thinking skills during class discussion and assignments.||X|
|Other (Please describe)|
|Assessment Methods and Strategies|
|Standardized exams (required by department as common to all sections)||X|
|Student self-evaluations (using a rubric, questionnaire, narrative, etc.)||X|
|Student evaluations of their peers (using a rubric, questionnaire, narrative etc.)||X|
|Assignments that examine application of course content in field experience or other real-world application||X|
|Application of concepts in written response form (narratives, reading responses, etc.)||X|
|Assessment of behavioral observations through rubrics/scoring guides||X|
|Assessment of performances or products through verbal feedback or rubrics (scoring guides)||X|
|Other (Please describe)|
Annual Teaching Self-Reflections
My goal: to guide and facilitate hands-on learning to help stretch and broaden student thinking, through the use of inquiry-based learning.
My teaching was observed by Dr. Colleen Eddy in October of 2018. In this review, she stated, “Dr. Eutsler is an effective teacher who is prepared, knowledgeable, and passionate about literacy content she is teaching.” To model how I work to create a caring classroom community, she witnessed me “writing and giving a note of encouragement to a candidate.”
In 2018, I taught 5 sections of 3 different courses, for a total of 170 students. In addition to being the lead instructor for and teaching two undergraduate courses I taught previously (EDRE 4450, EDEE 3320), I also taught a new course online over the summer, EDCI 4060. Each section was full with students on the wait list.
- Ability to connect with students and get them excited about learning. “It is evident she truly cares about, not only the subject, but also her students…it made learning contagious.”
- High quality feedback provided to students. “Her feedback was very helpful and her concise descriptions of the expectations and assignments was very helpful.”
Opportunities for Growth
- Help support students in managing their UNT required portfolio software (Tk20 was difficult to manage, and now we’ve moved to Foliotek).
- Attempt to grade material more quickly.
Newly Implemented Teaching Practices
- Literacy Inquiry Portfolio. After being awarded a $2,500 teaching grant, I established a partnership with Communities in Schools of North Texas. Students volunteer 15 hours each semester to help children develop their reading and writing skills. I teach the inquiry cycle and help students develop their own literacy inquiry, which is displayed in a digital literacy portfolio on Foliotek. This becomes a powerful artifact to demonstrate critical thinking and relevant teaching experiences to future employers.
- School Board Meeting assignment. Students in the EDEE 3320 course attended a local school board meeting and wrote a report to reflect on this experience. Student perspectives were broadened and students were thrilled by how much they were able to learn about the local schools and the way schools operate.
- Critical Book Review assignment. Students in the EDEE 3320 course read a book about being a teacher and write a critical review of the book. Many students really enjoyed the honesty and openness of It Won’t Be Easy by Tom Rademacher, a former teacher of the year. They admitted that although the book provided an honest account of the challenges of teaching, the stories in the book ignited their desire to become teachers. Others read books by Diane Ravitch, Lisa Delpit, and Geneva Gay, to name a few.
Although teaching in 2018 required a lot of careful planning and management of 170 students, the experience was fulfilling and informative. Based on the progress I made to enrich the course assignments and make material more responsive to our UNT students, I would like to continue down this path. I ask myself, if I were in their shoes, what would I want to do to learn the content? With this mindset, I intend to continue tailoring learning experiences to meet students’ interests and preferences. Last, with the intentional integration of the inquiry cycle as the foundation for the literacy portfolio, I aspire for each student to become a wonderer, a teacher who thinks critically about an issue, as a means to problem-solve and propel their interest in staying in education.
I believe teaching in higher education is very enjoyable and highly fulfilling because it affords me the opportunity to impact the teaching philosophies and teaching practices of teacher candidates, while positively impacting many future classrooms. I attempt to deliver course content by making practical, real-life connections from course material to actual elementary classrooms.
Since joining UNT in Fall 2016, I have taught three courses: 3 sections of EDRE 4450 (Reading and Writing birth-gr 6), 1 section of EDRE 4870 (Cross-Curricular [Content Area] Literacy Materials and Resources), and 1 section of EDEE 3320 (Foundations of Education: The School Curriculum), which is a blended course.
According to my SPOT course evaluations completed by students, strengths include: students’ confidence in instructor’s knowledge, enthusiasm, encouragement, availability of extra help, and instructor’s interest in whether students learn. Students’ open-ended comments reflected their high interest in the engaging nature of the course and how their knowledge gained translated to an increased understanding of what it means to be a teacher:
- “It was one of the first classes I took that taught strategies of how to actually teach, not just what we should be teaching and how our lesson plans should look. It made me think about how I want to deliver content to my future students more than any other class has.”
- “I love Dr. Eutsler’s class! She is so enthusiastic and gives you so many opportunities to apply what you’re learning into what you will use in your own classroom” (EDRE 4450).
- “There was a lot of good content that I used in other classes when making lesson plans or doing projects. This class made me think more like a teacher rather than a student (EDRE 4450).”
- “I could really see her passion for what she’s teaching, and I could really tell that she genuinely cares about her students on a personal level, and of course, academically. This class was made much better by her teaching! (EDRE 4450).”
- “The professor was inspiring and overall an essential aspect to my success in this course. I love the creative activities that you created for us rather than only writing papers. It helped the work to be exciting and to be able to find ideas for when we become teachers! I will miss this class very much! (EDEE 3320)!”
- “The in-class meetings were also incredibly useful and never time wasted (EDEE 3320).”
Per my SPOT course evaluations, weaknesses include reasonableness of the assigned work and evaluative and grading techniques. Primarily, students did not like that EDRE 4450 (FA17) contained a virtual field component. In the blended course, EDEE 3320, students felt the course objectives could be clearer and that written assignments could be more useful.
- “It didn’t detract, but the virtual placement definitely didn’t add to my learning. The observation computer lab is very convenient, but we can’t even see the students writing or reading on their own through the cameras. We can’t use the back row of roughly 8 computers so it takes away valuable time from getting other assignments done by having to wait for the computers to become available (EDRE 4450).”
- “Limit the time you have to observe in the CDL lab and make your future students do one day in field possible (EDRE 4450).”
- “The discussion boards. It felt like a lot of the students barely put any effort into their post. It was also difficult to figure out the expectations of the post because we would write thorough post only to find out we just had to comment on the CYU and videos (EDEE 3320).”
- I added the Virtual Field Experience of using the remote viewing lab of the child development laboratory. The course catalog contains a 15-hour field component and I was attempting to address this by using the remote viewing lab.
- I switched to a new textbook that was focused more on developmental literacy.
- I added modules on differentiation and understanding diverse student populations.
- Five hands-on iPad workshops allowed students to use iPads as a tool to support literacy teaching.
- I adapted the final to have students read a book or write on a literacy teaching topic, write a paper, and participate in roundtable discussions to present their understandings, reflections, and inquiries.
Since Fall 2017 was my first semester teaching EDEE 3320, and it came with two required portfolio assignments, I made very little changes to the course assignments.
- I made one of the assignments into a video instead of having students create a presentation using a software like PowerPoint. I implemented this change to challenge students to integrate technology, expand their creativity, and reduce redundancy in how course assignments were completed.
- I added reading responses because of the blended nature, to hold students’ accountable for their reading.
In both courses that I teach, I would like to reorganize the workload so there are fewer assignments. In doing so, I desire each assignment to have more components and require students to think more deeply about the specific content. I intend to make assignments descriptions and grading rubrics for all assignments. As part of this, I would like the final exam to be a portfolio, where students become an expert on a literacy topic of interest.
In the blended course, EDEE 3320, I aspire to create brief weekly videos that summarize the main points of the readings, introduce assignments, and pose questions to challenge students’ thinking. I would also like to place students in small groups (where participants change weekly) on the discussion board with the hope that students will read each other’s posts more closely and feel more connected.
I would like to continue to integrate my passion for research into my passion for teaching. I believe research can fuel and inform instructional design as well as expand learning opportunities. I am very intrigued with understanding how children can support their literacy development with portable technologies and to help prepare teacher candidates to become 21st century literacy teachers.
Teaching in higher education is enjoyable and highly fulfilling because it affords me the opportunity to impact the teaching philosophies and teaching practices of pre-service teachers, and potentially have a positive impact on a multitude of future classrooms. With each course I teach, I make every effort to deliver course content by making practical, real-life connections from course material to actual elementary classroom teaching practices.
Upon joining UNT in Fall 2016, I was assigned to teach two courses: EDRE 4450 (Reading and Writing birth-gr 6), and EDRE 4870 (Cross-Curricular [Content Area] Literacy Materials and Resources). In spring 2017, I taught one section of EDRE 4450.
Indicated by a mean score of 4.9 on a 5-point Likert-scale evidenced on my SPOT course evaluations completed by students, my strengths include effective use of class time, enthusiasm, students’ confidence in instructor’s knowledge, encouragement given to students to express themselves, answers to students’ questions, voice clarity, availability to help students, and the instructor’s interest in whether students learn. Student’s open-ended comments addressed creativity in how I delivered the course and the positive classroom climate that contributed to higher-level thinking:
- “All of the interactive workshops. Helped to make me think critically about the many different children who will enter my classroom.”
- “Professor Eutsler was great about doing a variety of activities and projects to learn the material, rather than just listening to lectures every day.”
- “Because of the classroom climate created by Dr. Eutsler, we all contributed and felt at ease. She stretched my thinking more than many teachers in my 25-year span as a student.”
Indicated by a mean score of 4.7 on a 5-point Likert Scale evidenced on my SPOT course evaluations completed by students, my weaknesses include reasonableness of the assigned work, my evaluation and grading techniques, and clarity of student responsibilities. Students did not like that EDRE 4450 contained a virtual field component, and they wished the classroom was more conducive for collaborative learning.
- “I think the virtual observation stuff should have been actually going into schools and learning from real students.”
- “Perhaps just the number of assignments that we had. All of them were extremely beneficial to my future teaching career, there were just a lot.”
- “I think the activities would be better completed at lab tables.” Also, “the amount of people in this class (n = 39; class caps at 41) and how small the desks were made it extremely hard to have cooperative lessons.”
Fall 2016 was my first semester teaching at UNT, so I initially decided to change very little about the courses because I wanted to teach the courses as intended and then make notes throughout the semester to implement future changes. However, I felt I had to implement a couple of changes because student feedback told me the changes were necessary to bring the course up-to-date and make learning more relevant for the students.
One change I made to EDRE 4450 was that instead of having students create a list of 25 award-winning children’s literature books, I had students create a website of children’s literature books (http://teachingchildrensliterature.weebly.com), organized by grade level and text type. Students provided a summary of each book, in addition to a teaching idea. While this seemed to add more work, feedback was positive: “she improved the class as we were in it by asking us our opinions of certain things. Originally there was an assignment that she turned into the creation of a class website and that really contributed to my education.” In spring 2017, students’ lesson plans were added to the website as a future teaching resource.
In spring 2017, as part of the virtual field component in EDRE 4450, I had students locate a “cool technology tool” to integrate into their lesson planning, watch only two instructional literacy videos for the virtual field component, and learn how to accommodate and understand a broader span of learners (ELL, Autism, Dyslexia, Poverty) – students documented their learning using dialogue journals for each of the three parts of the virtual field component.
With EDRE 4870, the textbook was designed to deliver content on children’s literature genres, but with a group of middle-school English and Social Studies teacher’s, I knew the course content needed to go beyond children’s literature to include strategies to incorporate literacy into Social Studies, in addition to incorporating all other subject areas into the English classroom.
If I teach EDRE 4870 again, I would like to identify more appropriate textbooks for the different course sections, for example, texts on how to integrate content area literacy into middle grades content area classrooms for those sections that contain students who aspire to become Science, Social Studies, and Math teachers.
In the future, I need to locate a new textbook that will allow me to re-organize the course content of EDRE 4450 to better reflect the developmental stages of literacy from birth-grade 6. Previously the course emphasized only a few reading strategies (read-aloud, think-aloud, guided reading), and I would like to re-organize the course to focus more broadly on the five components of reading (phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension) and how these components should be taught at various developmental stages of literacy from birth-gr 6. I would also like to alter the assignments to improve the fit of this new course design.
I would also like to replace the 15-hour virtual field component with either a face-to-face field experience or make use of the Child Development Laboratory’s remote viewing room in Matthews Hall 310, which would allow my students to observe early childhood learner’s literacy development in a natural setting.
Last, I would like to integrate my passion for research into my passion for teaching. I believe research can fuel and inform instructional design as well as expanding learning opportunities. I am very intrigued with understanding how children today learn to read with portable technology so that I can use this knowledge to help prepare teacher candidates to become exemplary teachers of these children when they enter the elementary classroom. I would like to explore pre-service teachers’ use of iPads as a literacy-teaching tool and also have the opportunity to examine children’s iPad use in a couple of elementary classrooms to explore how children use iPads in an educational setting to improve their literacy skills. I hope these future research projects can inform my higher education instruction in more fruitful and informative ways.