If you know me at all, you know I'm a very reflective teacher. I will reflect on a particular lesson at lunch or on the way home. I will reflect on the past year over the summer. I think it's important to bring your students into that process. Every year about this time, I give them a survey. Some of the questions are a little silly-like what does your teacher eat, what's your teacher's favorite color. Some are very open -ended--what does your teacher like, not like. And this year I added one that I was a little bit afraid to add: what would you change about your teacher if you could change one thing?
I gave that survey to my kiddos today and man, what an eye-opener!!! Let me preface this explanation by letting you know this has been a pretty difficult year for me. I was undergoing treatment for cancer from the week before we started pre-service activities until mid-February. So my energy was not always there the way it should have been. Habits that should have been nipped in the beginning weren't, not very effectively anyway. Add to that the fact that my class is 85% boys! I have definitely had to change some of the ways I handle classroom management and to be honest, there are days I throw up my hands and say I just don't know what to do with them.
Well, the responses I got certainly reflected the fact that I feel like I have to fuss more this year than usual. Where it asked what their teachers liked about half the students named kids in the class. This broke my heart because I like all my students-I really do. The challenging ones even often have a big place in my heart. But to these guys me saying "Mary is doing the right thing, thank you Mary" has translated into Miss Trayers must only like Mary. Heart-breaking and something I need to work to correct in these last couple of months. When I asked what does your teacher always say-I expected them to say "what's up Buttercup" or "Aloha". One student wrote a student's name with all exclamation marks-because I'm always having to redirect him. *sigh*
Here are some of the responses:
She wishes I would speak Spanish. :) My favorite illustration of me!
I like hearts and books
do not like them being loud
says funny jokes (at least someone thinks my jokes are funny)
on the weekend I read books
and she wouldn't change anything because "she is perfect". Hmmmm.
Like books and jewels (who knew!?).
Does not like broken stuff (true).
She would change that she'd make her teacher be cute. Hmmm.
Likes Ruby and the Smartboard
Favorite color: rainbow
One thing he'd change: food (because he doesn't like cucumbers). Gotta love 'em! :)
Does not like meat
Likes me and we (he said that meant him, the student and we-the class)
What would you change: all
Likes: tea and salad
Does not like: soup (who knew)
On the weekends: play with Ruby (my dog)
One thing he'd change-he'd make my eye color brown
Weekends: sleeps (scary how true that is! :)
One thing she'd change: nothing
So I am glad that I asked the questions because I will definitely come in Monday with a game plan to change their ideas while I still have time. I will also have the summer to read up and plan how to avoid those pitfalls next year. I certainly never want any of them to think they are unliked-because they truly aren't
Hey, at least I'm setting a good example for them with the healthy food part! :)