Finding out What Students Expect of their teachers
Often times at the beginning of the year, teachers want to be sure that all students know and understand the rules, routines and expectations that they want followed in class. This is completely understandable and absolutely necessary in order to create the order and organization needed to start the year off with a positive tone.
Even though it's important that teachers are clear and explicit about the rules, expectations and routines in their program, I feel it is also very important to allow students the same voice in communicating what it is they expect from their teachers.
Activated student voice in ways that encourage them to share what it is they most need from their teachers is a good way to build trust. It helps to provide a glimpse into what it is they need to feel a sense of belonging, trust and to know that they matter. I wrote a post this week about the process that I'm going through to find out what it is my students need from me, so I can best support them and their learning. You can access that post here if you want to read more about it.
In the blog post, I shared that I had the students use sticky notes at the end of their first class to answer the following question:
What is it you need from me to help you be better focused on your learning and feel more supported this year?
After collecting their sticky notes and going through them, the next step in this process was to make a visual that highlights the 6 expectations that my students have for me and share this poster with them to let them know I have listened. I am committing myself to trying my best to demonstrate these expectations as much as possible during the school year.
Below, you can see the poster I created that summarizes the expectations they have from me.
In a few months time, I will have a colleague from the school come in to randomly interview a number of students from across the grade levels. My colleague will show the randomly selected students the poster and ask them:
To what extent does Mr Andy make sure that there is fairness in PE?
(1= Not at all, 5= Always makes sure there is fairness)
To what extent do you feel Mr Andy cares about you and respects you?
(1= Not at all, 5= Demonstrates a lot of care and respect for me)
To what extent does Mr Andy clearly explain the rules and expectations in PE?
(1= Not clear at all, 5= Extremely clear)
How often does Mr Andy shout in an angry way in PE?
(1=Never, 5= Always)
To what extent does Mr Andy give you choices in your learning in PE?
To what extent does Mr Andy allow you to take breaks as needed?
These interviews will give me insight into how the students actually feel in my class based on what their expectations are of me. It's easy for me to assume that I'm being an impactful teacher who demonstrates care, respect, fairness and voice/choice in my lessons, but how will I really know? I see far too many teachers assume that their lessons are great rather than actually taking the time to know for certain the extent to which this is true.
Therefore, taking the time to understand what it is my students expect from me, making these things explicit to them through a visual and collecting student voice through feedback interviews will give me the data to show just how impactful my teaching is. Should any obvious areas come up during this process that I need to address, I'll be able to see what it is specifically I might be doing too much of or too little of during my lessons and address it accordingly. Doing so will show the students I care and that I've listened to their voices and the feedback offered.
How do you seek feedback with students about your teaching? How do you know what it is you are doing well and might need to do more of or less of to be more impactful? Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading.