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(Lack of) Anger in the Classroom V

A while back, I wrote about how one of my biggest challenges as a teacher is my anger. Getting frustrated with student behavior or performance, and just....losing it. And how one of my primary goals this year was to reduce my level of anger, because, y'know, it's really not a good thing.

I posted a few times about how I was doing with the situation - up and down for the most part. And then I kinda forgot about it. Well, not about the issue, per se. I forgot about the posting updates. Life. It gets busy. You know how it goes.

But last week my trimester ended. And one of the things I do when trimesters end is have students complete an evaluation.

It's not long, just 12 sentence starters, based off
this form. Specifically, students finish the following, based off my class:

I am awesome at...
I need more practice with...
One thing I had trouble with was...because...
One thing I enjoyed was...because...
One thing I didn't enjoy was...because...
I wish we could have...
In the rest of the year, I would like to...
Ms. Teachin' did a good job with...
Ms. Teachin' could have done better with...
I feel Ms. Teachin' cares about me as a person and a student when...
I feel Ms. Teachin' does NOT care about me as a person and a student when...
(Optional) Anything else to add?

It helps me figure out what's going well, what's not, what I've taught thoroughly, what I need to reteach, what I need to keep, what I need to change. I always give kids the option of filling them out anonymously, and about half of them do, though honestly I always know who wrote each (I'm weirdly good at handwriting recognition. It's odd. I don't know).

I emphasize that I really want them to tell the truth because it matters to me and I use the information to drive my instruction, and they do. They're generally remarkably honest, sometimes depressingly so, but either way, helpful.

Tonight I read the evaluations. And again, they were remarkably honest, occasionally depressingly so, but always helpful.

I definitely have some things to work on (talking too quickly, explaining vocabulary thoroughly, assuming kids get stuff when they're still confused), though a few I don't know how to deal with (like adding more reading time, which about a third of my kids mentioned as something they would like more of. We have 20 minutes of independent reading every day already. The only way to add more time would be to cut the readaloud, but about a third of the kids listed that as the thing they enjoyed most, so......?)


But a few....a few made me cry.

One thing I had trouble with was reading because I hated reading. One thing I enjoyed was reading because I like reading now. (Oh, I'm so proud of him.)

Ms. Teachin' did a good job with...
explaining things and being helpful.

Ms. Teachin' could have done better with...
she did a good job at everything.
Don't gotta answer for this one.

I feel Ms. Teachin' cares about me as a person and a student when she....
takes time to help me when I'm stuck.
tells me that I need to do something better [I LOVE that this kid recognizes this!]
doesn't raid my fridge [okay, honestly, that one just made me laugh]

Anything else to add?
Your [sic] cool.
I like this class better than what I had for reading and writing before.
You rock.

And the one that really made me lose it, from a student that I got for the first time at our midyear change (I'm welling up again just typing it)....
Ms. Teachin' is the first teacher that I know that doesn't scream.

I'm getting better. Got a ways to go still....but I'm getting better.

(Image credit to StickBus)

2 comments:

OKP said...

Good on you! Good on you for the evaluations you received -- and double good on you for giving them and reading them and changing the way you do things.

Allison said...

I'm honestly very scared to hear what my students would say about me on this type of assessment. I don't know. It might hurt my feelings. I have anger problems too.

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
 
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