As a teacher, I think I frequently operate on instinct. That noise in the hallway that just isn’t quite right, the kid who looks a little “off” today, the homework completion pattern that has changed…whether we are born with it or develop it, good teachers begin to use a bit of ESP in their interactions with kids on a regular basis.
At the same time, I’ve had a draft of this post and the next ones to follow in progress for a few months because I have been leaning hard on the power of measurable data this year and I’ve been working to reflect on my take-away’s. I gave my students a survey in December and have been thinking about what to post about it since then; we also used an exam wrapper in January after the Percent Module Assessment. I’ve posted before about how I integrate survey data into my practice and much of the results from this survey are the same that I’ve seen since I started soliciting student feedback. One pattern that I see every year is that students ask for things that are already happening, but that they somehow missed.
For example, students write “I wish the homework was written on the board” (Ms. Durling prints and posts the homework document in two places in the classroom each day in hard copy PLUS in Google Classroom); “you should help me more often” (if you want more time with the teacher, get up and come to group, since the data sheets from December through February show that you only ever come when it’s a required group); “I leave my binder in my locker, so you could post notes in Google Classroom so I would have them” (all notes sheets are posted in Google Classroom in the “By the End of” sheet, so they are already there). I’m always re-amazed at how much the students miss, but, still, okay, these are easy fixes.
Another result is that students ask for something I can’t give (“I wish we could have a review day in WIN block the day before a Module Assessment”; “I wish we could take our Skill Assessments home the day we take them“). I hate not being able to grant such simple requests, but at least I can meet with the student and share the limitations I experience as a teacher (I am required to do intervention in WIN block this year; I am required to work with a specific group of students based on failing MCAS scores; I love your idea but don’t have time to implement it and also do the work mandated by administration this year; I can’t give out corrected copies of the Skill Assessments to one class when other classes haven’t taken it yet). I can only hope that this allows my students to feel “heard,” to know that I value their feedback, even when I can’t act on it.