Friday, June 14, 2013

What They Learned Part I

The schoolyear has come to an end and my students have headed out my classroom door for the final time.    As I grade finals, tie up loose ends and endure the new Virginia Teacher Evaluations as part of our TPA(Teacher Performance Appraisal) I took a moment to consider what I have really taught my students.

I spend the majority of my time focused on curriculum, skills and things directly related to the course I teach.  But I employ one unique way to find out how I have affected my students.   An extended class survey, which is part real and part humor, concludes with this question:

"What was the most important thing (if anything) you learned from your teacher this year(may be something other than history)?"

Absent context these might seem a bit odd but as part of a larger yearlong effort and fit into all that time working together they make complete sense.  Some students always choose not to answer but those that do provide funny, sometimes puzzling and often profound responses that make me feel like all my efforts are worthwhile. 

The Lessons in the ever popular Word Cloud
2013 Responses:
Go with your gut
I liked how you said “think”  I never really started doing that before.
That I have the ability to control myself
How to Outline
Don’t be afraid to put your personality in your work
It is better to try your hardest and maybe fail than to cheat
School is hard
How to study
Important to do homework
Opossums have bifurcated male organs
History can be fun. European history is the best
Outlining can teach you a lot, DO THEM
The 3 sentences that will keep your wife happy and keep you married.(You’re right.  I’m sorry.  I love you.)
Responsibility.  Effort.  Dependability
Studying gets you the grade you want, or deserve.
I learned to be less serious about schoolwork.  That sounds bad but it really equated to less stressing about school which is a good thing.
Outlining is terrible
Self Reliance
High School is more work
Too many profound quotes are swirling through my head to pick just one.
Humans have incredible potential, Fu**ing use it already
To have regular talks with your comb
Don’t be stupid
Just the random current events and what he said about them
Learn to mange yourself(spelled as it appeared)
To learn when it’s time to learn and joke around when it’s OK to joke around and make class fun
Fish can survive throughout the WHOLE Christmas/Winter Break w/o being fed.  
Failure is the best teacher.
Don’t Vote “Y”- (reference to the famed X/Y game)
That studying helps a lot
People are dumb
Work Hard
Do not memorize, learn to understand.  Hair is cool.
That history is very long
Doing Homework is essential.
Time management
How important learning is
Enjoy what you do
That nobody is perfect
Have fun while you are working
How to Outline since this was my first year doing it.  Also DBQs
Hope.  I learned to hope.
There are 3 questions we should ask ourselves: Where did we come from? Why are we here? What happens when we die?
Always say what’s on your mind and always be yourself
Speech skills
If you lose your culture, you lose yourself.
How to give a great handshake.

I'll also take some time over the summer to share some traditional responses from previous students so keep an eye our for Part II. 

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