being a teacher, blogging, kids, no homework, rewards, students

If I Were a Teacher – Reflections from Students

Ah from the mouths of students.  Every week I challenge my students to blog asking them various questions.  This week I thought why not ask them how they would run their classroom?  What do they love when we do and what would they change.  Well the answers are in and they are very revealing (and not so surprising after all).

  • No Homework.  The consummate complaint is that teachers give too much of it, that it is too hard, or even worse that it is boring and/or pointless.  We know this probably from our own school experience, so why is it most of us ( and I used to be one) feel the absolute requirement to prescribe homework?  Students already give you at least 6 some hours of their day, how about we give them a break and let them enjoy life a bit?
  • Rewards, candies, and parties.  Yes, students want to be rewarded and they do not know why.  No students wrote how they would “earn” said rewards but many pointed out that parties were the best thing about school.  Makes me sad to think that with all of the amazing learning going on, the parties we throw are the ones that kids remember.  So how do we change that?
  • More spelling tests.  Ok, that one was a surprise.  I have a couple of girls that love spelling and so for them a perfect classroom means more spelling tests.  Preferably on Thursdays when their minds are still fresh.  I am still thinking about that one.
  • More creativity.  Students don’t want to show us their progress through another worksheet (well, some do but many don’t).  Students want to create.  So my students are asking for more creative projects.  I cannot wait for them to see the Native American Battle simulation I am working on right now.
  • Rules.  Not the rules you set up, but rules they come up with.  This year I do not have rules posted on the walls but we discuss them a lot.  Especially trust and just how important it is in our classroom.  It shows again that students crave structure with some freewill embedded and gives me a good reminder that we need to have another class meeting to discuss norms.
And then the compliment.  Almost all of my students had to share just how amazing I am as their teacher and while I certainly appreciate the compliment I also wonder about it.  The challenge did not say anything about me or rating my performance but rather what they would do themselves if they were a teacher.   When are students taught that they must tell you that you are their favorite teacher or that you rock?  I always tell my students that they do not have give me compliments unless they mean them but whenever I mention teachers, there it is, “well, you are my favorite one.” Oh if it really were so, I will settle with being one they like and not let the rest go to my head.
If you would like to see the blogging challenge (blogging challenge 3) and their thoughts on tests (blogging challenge 2) as well go to our class blog.  While you are there, leave us a comment.  They love to hear from others and we mark you on our map as well.

2 thoughts on “If I Were a Teacher – Reflections from Students”

  1. I too agree with the parties and rewards statements. After all the amazing work and learning my students do; I become downtrodden when this is what they become so excited about!I did enjoy your post; much like my Yr 8 students!

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