being a student, being a teacher, being me, questions, student choice, Student dreams, student driven, student voice, Student-centered

A Most Important Question my students to reflect, to give feedback, to set goals and try to peek into their minds has been a mission of mine for the last many years.  The questions I ask change, but the purpose does not; to create a better educational experience for them.  To create a classroom they actually want to be a part of.  To find out how I can change so that I can be a better teacher.

For all of the questions I have asked, and it has been a lot so far,  there is one that stands out.  One that has given me the most significant answers.  One that has led me to question myself and what I focus on in the classroom, day after day, student upon student.

And it is one of the simplest ones indeed.

What do you wish I would notice?


Tucked at the end of the survey, when they are already thinking, when they have already shared.

Some write nothing, some say I am noticing what I need to.  But then there are the others, those whose answers always stop me, change me, and sometimes even keep me up at night.

I wish Mrs. Ripp would notice how hard I am trying.

I wish she would notice that I am funny.

I wish she would notice how tired I a.

How I need help.

How I don’t know what to say.

How shy I am.

And I am grateful for their answers, for their faith in me to now begin to notice so that I can be better.  So that we can be better.  So that school can be about them again, just the way it was meant to be.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.  Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.

5 thoughts on “A Most Important Question”

  1. Ah yes. Another great question a colleague asked her students today was “Are you coachable?” In other words, how will you use the descriptive feedback to improve? You can relate making improvements in your work to an analogy of what a coach would tell you in football (tackle low) and think why it’s important (so you prevent him from running).


  2. This may be a tricky one for the boys…

    I’m learning a great deal about the importance of recognizing gender differences; how boys and girls learn differently, at different rates, and would benefit from gender specific instruction. The brains of boys and girls are different. Boys prefer not to be aligned with the teacher whereas girls do. Boys prefer not to engage in discussions that are about feelings or emotions, nor will they have an answer because that part of their brain is not developed yet. Girls will discuss their emotions at length and their brains are ready for it,.. Check out Why Gender Matters, by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

    1. While I see your point, in the years I have found that boys will indeed answer this question truthfully if they trust you. I have been reading quite a bit on brain development differences as well and find that one of the largest commonalities is the sense of respect and community that is needed for deeper engagement.

  3. That is one question I have never asked. I asked many with the same mission in mind, to improve my classroom, myself, and the environment of the room to make it into a place where they want to be.

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