8 Things Your Students Are Afraid to Tell You
Some students, especially older students, find it difficult to talk openly with their teachers. Why? Well... that's really an entire discussion in itself, so we'll leave that for another blog post! If you suspect that some of your students have a lot going on behind their mute facades, here are a few examples of what they may be thinking:
- "I do care about my grades."
Many students care about their grades a lot more than they will admit. That being said, put time and care into grading their work. If they earn less than 100%, tell them why and how they can improve. If you become careless with their grades, they'll become careless with them as well.
- "I want a choice in my education."
In school, I would do just about anything to avoid actually reading an assigned novel (research online, movies, ect..). One year, my teacher assigned seven books to read. Instead of telling us which book to read and when to read it, Ms. Roberts polled the class and asked us the order in which we would like to read each book. That year I read every book from cover to cover. Why? Not because the tests were more difficult or because I wasn't sure when a pop quiz might come, but because I had chosen which novel to read and felt I had a choice in what I learned.
- "I could teach you a thing or two if you'd just listen."
It's impossible to be an expert in everything. Yes, in most areas, you have more experience and knowledge than your students. However, in some areas, your students may know more than you do (especially when it comes to technology), so don't be afraid to ask them for help.
- "Respect is a two way street."
As an educator you are given authority, however, much of the respect of your students is earned. If you want your students to really respect you and look to you as a role model, you must show them the same kindness and and consideration you expect from them.
- "What you say is just as important as how you say it."
Remember that students are impressionable. If you're not excited about something (like standardized tests), your negativity will come through your tone and actions if you're not careful. If and when that happens, your students will develop the same negative attitude. In the long run, this will only make things more difficult for you. So make sure to pay attention not only to what you say, but also how you say it.
- "I want to learn."
Every student wants to learn. Now, whether or not they want to learn what you are offering is another story. The hard part is figuring out how to teach the material in a way that will keep them wanting more. Every teacher is a salesmen...what are you selling to your students?
- "Take home test = Google it."
Here is a common mistake. A teacher sends their students home with a test and tells them not to work together. That's fine, your students will follow your exact instructions. Since using Google isn't technically working with another person, they will not see a problem with it. While this may clearly be seen as cheating to you, many of your student will truly not see why this may be wrong. Make sure you are deliberate in your directions because your students can be cunning (as you already know).
- "You impact my life more than you know."
Your students spend about eight hours a day at school, which is probably more time than they spend with their own families. It's simply impossible for you not to make an impression. And if you're a great teacher (reading this blog post is a sign that you might be), chances are your students will talk about you and things that happened in your classroom long after next year.
What else do you think your students would say if they sat down and had an open conversation with you?