So I’m a little late with this post. To say that we’re off to the races in second semester is an understatement. This semester is flying by with speed greater than any other I’ve experienced, which is why this reflection on first semester is just hitting the blogosphere.
Last semester, I taught two sections of English IV and two sections of Advanced Grammar and Composition. Throughout the semester, as is evident in these blog posts, I ask students for their feedback, but at the end of each semester, I ask students for a detailed report of what they liked, didn’t like, would throw away completely, and what they would tell future students and family members about me. Here’s a copy of the end of semester reflection students fill out:
Overall, the feedback I received from students was positive, but I also like to focus on things students think I could or should improve so that I can be even better for my next round of students (Luckily, I read all of these before the semester started; otherwise, I’d really be slack, huh?). I got things like, “no way to improve,” which is nice, but this doesn’t really help me be a better teacher even though it’s really nice for my ego. Other students asked me to stop making them blog (No way that’s happening, buddy!), but comments like “make more time for reading” and “give a little more class time to complete assignments” give me something to work with for future classes. While my favorite comment for things I could improve was “pfft, it’s perfect already,” (Yeah, somebody really said that) I really do need to consider student needs and wants. Some students don’t have access to a computer, so sure, I need to find a way to give that extra time requested. And you want more time to read in class? I can make that happen too! I want you to read more in class and out of class and love it, so I’ll do my best to make those things happen.
I learned that students like “my walls that teach” and would love even more of “those cheat sheets you hang on the wall” because they help us learn better. I learned they want even more opportunities to be creative, and I learned that they want to help teach the class (Why not?) I learned that students think I’m “straightforward,” “pretty cool,” and “honest.” I learned I “like to have fun,” but I’m “serious when the time comes.” I learned I’m nice, but I “make you work.” And guess what? I can live with all of that.
When I asked students what the most important thing they learned this semester, I was also satisfied with their responses. You can know you’ve done an honest day’s work when your students say:
“Put all my effort into everything I do.”
“Turn in everything on time.”
“Change the community.”
“The importance of punctuation and grammar.”
“Service learning is good.”
“Do your work! If not, you will fail!”
“Be specific in your writing.”
So I can live with that, and all the other feedback because I will take those things to heart. And this semester, I’ll try harder to be all those things and better for you guys! 🙂