June 20, 2010

Favorite & Least Favorite: My First Year as a Teacher

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
  1. Connect with students and listen to them.
  2. Maintain an updated website with worksheets, calendar and answer keys to quizzes/homework.
  3. Teaching strategies - explain things clearly and allow students to ask questions until they understand.
  4. Time to work on homework at the end of class.
  5. Enthusiasm for math and life and baseball.
Least Favorite Things/Things to Improve for Next Year
  1. Set stricter guidelines for students who misbehave.
  2. When students make non-friendly comments (in Spanish or English) don't always take it personally.
  3. Give less homework. (Not happening, sorry.)
  4. Check the homework first to see if people did it, then read the correct answers, otherwise people do it as the answers are read.
  5. 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.

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