All of the report cards were filled in anonymously, so I had quite a few students belt out some of their high notes of what they thought. All in all, I was excited to see the results.
I'll go through the good, the bad, and the ugly. But first, the math nerd in me needs to quantify the numeric responses. Each response was on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best. Here are my top 5:
Respects each student 4.65
Speaks Clearly 4.65
Seems to enjoy teaching 4.69
Dresses professionally 4.65
Encourages me to be responsible 4.56
I like these being my top 5 because the message is loud and clear. I will respect each and every one of you to the best of my abilities. It makes me happy to know that this is interpreted correctly. Speaking clearly is tough because I have a lot of English Language Learners and I've been accused of talking too fast. Apparently I'm learning. One of my biggest hopes is that my love of teaching comes through in my lessons, and it certainly does when my students rate that as the highest. Dressing professionally is something that I do 4 days per week. Slacks, long sleeve dress shirt, and a tie. No, it's not going to create better test scores. It probably doesn't make any difference at all in anything. For me, it sets the tone for myself and my students that this is a professional environment and we will conduct business as such (while having fun, of course).
Not everything can be great. Here are my bottom 5:
Makes me feel important 3.87
Shows interest in students' lives 4.07
Gives good, fair assignments 4.16
Has interesting lessons 4.16
Enourages different opinions 4.18
Honestly, these hurt a little. While I admit that my mind has been elsewhere the past few weeks with a new job, new house, and new area to research, the time I spend in class is supposed to be dedicated to the 78 eyeballs that are looking at me. Not only that, but the 39 brains and hearts that show up to be exercised, nurtured, and grown. Clearly, no matter how much I would like to think that I'm getting through, I'm not. I've never been OK with a C. A 3.87 out of 5 equates to a 77.4% and it's a tough pill to swallow. Showing interest in my students' lives is tough with so many, but it's something that I clearly need to improve. Giving good and fair assessment is partially the nature of the beast known as algebra 1. At the same time, I don't want to use it as an excuse and will get better next year. Interesting lessons... You mean algebra isn't interesting?! I'll accept an 83.2% on that one for the sake of not losing my sanity when trying to make systems of equations the most entertaining work they've ever done. The final one cuts me a little, considering that I try to get different opinions. When all is said and done, I'm not too upset with that result.
So, here we go. Some of the ugly. After all of the numeric ratings, it was time to give a loaded "opinion rifle" to the students and let them them take aim... at me. Here we go:
HOW CAN THE CLASS BE IMPROVED?
"Let us have snacks...
Use the videos on your website more often."
(Snacks, no... school rule. The website comment was a good one though!)
Multiple responses were similar to "You could use more colors around the classroom."
(duly noted. I'm a dude, and a math teacher. We tend to not be on the creative side of the creativity spectrum. I'll work on it)
"The class can be improved by never doing the serpinskis triangle ever again, poor children."
"This class can be improved by treating every student equally and not having favorites."
(Eeeesh. Totally what I didn't want to happen, but it's inevitable, I guess. It's just painful to think that I'm perceived as having favorites. The bad part is that there were a couple like this. I know that it's not my job to get every student to like me. At the same time, I try to feed off the energy of the class, which can be misconstrued as favoriting the kids who bring the most energy)
Finally, the good:
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THE CLASS?
"What I like best about this class is that everything's is fair for each and everyone of the students no matter who you are."
(Just had to put this one on here)
"The thing I like best about his class is that he makes difficult things easy."
"The fact that Mr. Stevens gives us the trust and ability to be creative. "
"I liked how all the lessons we learned were taught to us in simple terms, but it didn't sound like he was teaching pre-school. He treated us like young men and women."
"I like how Mr.Stevens does his best to improve everything. He likes to be perfect and make his students happy. He's a really cool teacher to have. His class was a great experience. Hopefully his next students love him as much as we do."
Anything else you'd like to add?
"I want to say that I am honored to be one of your students for the 2012 2013 school year. I hope you have an amazing summer and enjoy your job at your new school. I will miss you and hope to see you again in the future! And thank you for everything you have taught me."
Likewise... It has been an incredible year.