Teaching is a tough job even on the best of days. Managing our classrooms and ensuring all students are engaged in meaningful learning can be mentally and emotionally taxing. As educators, we hear all the time how important building trust is and the positive impact that creating a safe environment has on our students and their well-being.
The vast majority of administrators and teachers know that building a positive learning environment deeply depends on the degree to which trust is prioritized as being a fundamental part of the classroom culture. When students know they are safe, they feel a sense of belonging and inclusion. When they feel they are valued and appreciated for the contributions they make, they are more than likely to better engage in their learning and stay intrinsically motived to do their best.
Knowing all of this, one of the main ways that I like to focus on building trust with students is to genuinely check in with them as much as possible. I accomplish this through the consistent use of the exit ticket strategy which helps to accomplish several things:
To start the year off, just like many educators out there, one of my main objectives is to truly get to know my students and how they feel about their learning. In the first week of school, one of the most important questions I can ask is:
What is it you need from me to help you be better focused on your learning and feel more supported this year?
Asking this exit ticket question was well worth the last 3-5 minutes of the first class of the year as it activated student voice immediately. I will categorize their results and let them know what my commitment will be to address what it was they shared with me.
See the photo below of student responses to the above question.
Here is a list of other types of exit ticket questions I use throughout the year:
How difficult was your learning today on a scale of 1-10? (10 being impossible, 1 being super easy)
If you were the teacher, what is one thing you would do differently next lesson?
What is one thing you want Mr Andy to do more of or less of to make your learning more fun and engaging?
Which emotion did you most experience today? What is one reason why you felt this way?
How much did you enjoy the lesson today on a scale of 1-10? (10 being absolutely loved it, 1 being it was the worst!)
Write down 2-3 things you learned in today’s class.
What is a question you have or questions you have about today’s learning?
How much support do you feel Mr Andy gave you today in your learning? (1= none, 10= I feel tremendously supported).
If you are a curriculum coordinator, instructional coach or a principal reading this post, how can you best support your teachers in developing a wider range of check in/assessment tools for students.
If you are a teacher, in what ways are you adding to your tool kit in regard to checking in with students socially/emotionally and expanding on the ways you assess their learning?
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