The questions about promotion started a couple of weeks ago. Right on schedule. What does it take to move to the next level? Good question. They brainstormed a list of things they thought I would consider when making my decision. Some of the items on the list: class participation, attendance, work on projects, determination. Good stuff. Even better because no one said the one thing that everyone else always jumps to first: the TEST. We’re doing final tests right now, and those scores are always foremost on everyone’s mind. I’m fascinated and thrilled that no one in the group thought of that.
It’s true that test scores count for something in this decision, but they are far from everything. I really do take things like class participation and determination into account. Makes the decision both easier and harder depending on the student.
For our ‘Reflection’ writing, I had everyone write the one thing they would want J___ to know so that he could be a better teacher for them. People had a hard time with it at first — some because they thought they had too many things to write. Others struggled with giving a teacher advice on how to do his or her job. But there were some good responses:
Sometimes I don’t understand what the teacher says. Maybe repeat at least one time.
I would tell J___ not to talk fast and when every time he said something for him to explain what he’s saying.
I want to let him know that I am poor in writing skill.
Well, I am very loud, so I would want him to know and not let it bother him.
I like to go over the work until I get it.
Just be himself so we can see who he is.
Don’t be too harsh on us.
I like this list, too. I love that Desirée doesn’t offer up the possibility that she could maybe get a handle on her noisiness rather than asking J___ to put up with it and not be bothered by it. And I’m intrigued by the “Just be himself” suggestion. I love how easily honest they are about the things they need to work one. This reflection is a pretty mild example, but it showed me once again that, if I just step back, my students will step up and say the stuff I might not expect but really want to hear. Even my quietest students open their doors when they write reflections. Yes, it’s something about asking the right questions and about the trust we’ve built up over the last few months, but it’s much more about me giving them space.
I’m not yet sure who will be promoted. One of my jobs for the weekend is to do evaluations and figure that out. I’m passing the notes on to J___. I hadn’t planned to, but the class asked me to, so I will. And this reflection that I thought of at the last moment when I decided to ditch the planned one is definitely being added to my end-of-term activities.