Being a thoughtful practitioner is an essential trait of an effective educator. Understanding, listening, and valuing students’ voices are all skills good professionals explore and develop.
At the beginning of the school year teachers often share with students the expectations they have. Teachers let the students know exactly what rules, procedures, routines, and the high goals s/he has set. But how often do teachers listen to the students’ expectations of them?
Sometimes it is hard to hear what students think of us as classroom leaders. I believe there is a partnership in any classroom, and that partnership should be respected and valued on both ends. I also believe in student voice, and I think it is only fair that there is a discussion about teacher AND student expectations in the classroom.
A few years ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook an image from her Pintrest. It was an image of questions and students used sticky notes to answer each question. I love back to school activities and sticky notes so this seemed like a perfect activity.
I posted the questions, the students had a certain time in which to answer any and/or all the questions they wanted, and then we discussed. I changed some of the questions to include: What can you do to keep your Dear Teacher happy? What are your goal(s) this year? What shouldn’t students do in our classroom? What do you expect Ms. P to do to help you succeed?
It was the last question that garnered responses that surprised me the most; it also received the most responses compared to the other questions. Every time I did this activity that question was answered the most. Students gave really good answers too. Don’t get me wrong, I got obvious things like be fun, no homework, and free A’s, but most responses were surprisingly thoughtful.
I decided to do this activity with the science method students I taught at a local college. I found that my undergrads and 4th grade students both shared pretty much the exact same expectations of me as an educator. Both young and older students wanted the same thing from their teacher.
I’ve collected the data and crunched the numbers. I know what students want…
K. Renae P.’s Official Guide of What Students Want
7. Don’t make us feel dumb.
6. Let us know what you want us to do and be clear about it.
Begin with the end in mind. Don’t wait until the end of a unit to figure out how you want to evaluate your students. – Great Advice from K. Renae P.
5. Do what you say you are going to do.
Broken promises are the worst kind of promises.– K. Renae P.
4. If something is going to change, let us know.
3. Help us when we need it.
2. Give us our work back in a timely manner. Tell us something we did wrong and right. Don’t make a big deal about us being wrong.
1. Be fair to all of us.
Life may not be fair, but your classroom should be. Students understand that fair doesn’t necessarily mean equal. They may not always like it, but they understand. Fair is fair. Students want teachers who are equitable, clear, helpful, caring, timely, and demonstrate integrity. Not a lot to ask really.
If you are in any learning environment, what do you expect of your teacher?