Teaching in the D

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 18 2011

Probably Not The Intended Effect

About two weeks into this year, I gave my students a survey, which asked them a variety of questions. Some of them were personal, like what they want to be when they grow up and what their favorite movie is, and others were about the class specifically (like what would make class better). I’ve always been skeptical of these surveys as an investment tool, but I recognize that getting to vent is in and of itself a useful purpose.

Because I gave homework credit for the survey, I’m still getting a couple every few days. Most of the surveys are typical – kids who are doing well like the class, feel like I like them, and are having a good time, while their peers who aren’t doing well/aren’t doing their work don’t like it, think I don’t care about them, and are miserable. It’s a pretty self-replicating cycle (kids who get excited begin to do well, kids who start doing poorly start disliking the class, etc). But this gem came off a survey I got last week from a 7th grader:

Q: What would make class more interesting/fun/BETTER?

A: Make it less college, and let us have more fun. Loosen up!

This response, although clearly not intended to make me happy, has had me bouncing all day. Because, hey, I’ll loosen up eventually (my personal Big Goal right now is “find the fun”), but having kids starting thinking about college and what that looks/feels like… priceless.

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