A subject of staff development once upon a time, it was suggested that students with equity invested in your class will try harder for you. I can't recall what resolution I came up with, but I think I found a way to address it a little bit this year.
Are you effective? Are you covering things too fast? too slow? Are you challenging the room? Are you inadvertedly ignoring kids? Do you have some students that would be interested in harder work than everyone else? Do they jive with your flow?
How do you know the answers to these questions? Ever tried asking the kids? Teenagers can have valid opinions on things.
I think I might be doing something well, that the pacing is awesome, that my curriculum is super rigorous and that every kid has my complete support. But what if that's not true? Can I set a record for number of interrogative clauses in a post?
Anyway, with the end of the grading period I handed every kid an index card and had them respond to these questions:
- Do you feel better about math than when we started the school year?
- Do we cover things fast enough, too fast, or too slow?
- Do you feel challenged?
- Do you get enough support from me? What is something I could do to help you better as an individual?
What the kids see: "I respect your input and will adjust to your needs."
I was extremely curious at what might happen. The end result was some good feedback. A few kids need more stimulating material (and will "accidentally" find themselves in a group together in the future), and I have a couple that I should visit with more often. Here are samples: