For reasons unbeknownst to me, the terms "assessment" or "data analysis" have never seemed to frighten me. In fact, I find conversations about these terms and the implications of them intriguing and exciting. I think by digging into data we have the opportunity to learn more about our students and their learning needs. But Dr. Salemi shed new light onto "assessment" and shared a perspective that, I believe, calmed those both excited and frightened by the term. She discussed with participants how teachers are always collecting data because we are "researchers", our students are the "information" and when we can get into the mindset of teachers as researchers, we can really begin to understand our students. Her example of examining students' facial expression and body language was the perfect example to prove that we assess our students everyday. We learn to understand them not only by the work they do that results in a score, but also by how they participate in lessons and engage with the school community. Are they prepared? Are they happy or sad? Why?
My takeaway from the seminar is that our students are more than numbers, and when we look at their achievement, or lack of, we must look at the whole picture of our students. In order to be effective teachers, we need to know our students, really know them. During my time at St. George's, I have admired how well my cooperating teacher, Mrs. LaRoche, knows her students and adapts her teaching to their needs. The students know she cares about them as individuals and as a result, the student buy-in is high and the teaching is effective. I hope to know my students well and always make an effort to weave their interests, learning styles, and needs into my teaching.