Last week as the school year came to a close I asked each of my students to complete a short evaluation of me as a teacher. I think feedback is important at any point in our lives, but I knew that especially as a first year teacher I wanted to know what my students liked about my class and what they disliked. None of their responses were shocking, as most of their comments are things I already knew about myself, but I really enjoyed receiving some concrete feedback about myself as a teacher.
Here are some of the most frequent comments...
Favorite Things/Things to Continue for Next Year
- Connect with students and listen to them.
- Maintain an updated website with worksheets, calendar and answer keys to quizzes/homework.
- Teaching strategies - explain things clearly and allow students to ask questions until they understand.
- Time to work on homework at the end of class.
- Enthusiasm for math and life and baseball.
Least Favorite Things/Things to Improve for Next Year
- Set stricter guidelines for students who misbehave.
- When students make non-friendly comments (in Spanish or English) don't always take it personally.
- Give less homework. (Not happening, sorry.)
- Check the homework first to see if people did it, then read the correct answers, otherwise people do it as the answers are read.
- More organization with after-school tutorials.
Thinking about these comments gives me a starting place for next year - a definitive place to focus my energy. Discipline is definitely difficult for me as a teacher, mostly because I would rather have students listen to me because they want to learn instead of listening because if they don't I am going to send them to the dean. However, I realize the reality is that not every student has an internal motivation to learn, so this is sometime I hope to improve on in the future.