Last week, I decided to ask my students what they expected from teachers. I told them that teachers are always telling students what they expect from them. Now, I wanted to hear what students expect from their teachers. I ask them to tell me in a paragraph what they expect and why. This is some of what they told me. I expect teachers to
- not abuse their power and order me around like they control my life;
- respect my personal life and not to bug me on things that are none of their business;
- not to yell at me because that just makes me made and I won’t listen;
- not to talk about themselves all the time and show off they’re smarter than us because I find it discouraging;
- not to treat us like we don’t know anything;
- have respect for all students no matter what they have done;
- to be able to hear both sides of the story and respect them;
- to be equally fair to all students;
- try to help every student to make him or her have the best results in class;
- give me less homework because it is hard to do it by myself if I cannot ask the teacher;
- more free time in class to do homework;
- give less homework because it is boring and takes away from time with family and friends;
- let us eat in class because sometimes kids are hungry in class and can’t stay awake in class;
- not give us homework before the holidays;
- let us listen to music while working in class;
- let us watch videos in class and not have to write about them;
- to want me to pass my classes;
- to be helpful, respectful, and fun to be around.
One student was philosophical about student expectations . He wrote “what can you do it’s life”.
After reading their paragraphs it stuck me how students and teachers have similar expectations. Teachers want students to respect them; students want teachers to respect them. I expected more of them to tell me they didn’t want homework. Some did tell me that, but it was because they didn’t have anyone at home that could help them with homework. Some students told me they want less writing. Maybe teachers could have their students demonstrate their learning orally more often. I’ll be honest, I want to do this more often, and I’m not sure why I don’t. I’ll have to think about that one. Any ideas about an easy way to evaluate learning orally?
I was delighted that my students felt safe enough in my classroom to actually tell me these things. I work hard to develop an inviting classroom, but I always think there’s room for improvement. My students are great teachers, and they tell me what my next steps need to be.
I encourage you to ask your students what they expect from teachers. I teach high school kids who are academically at-risk. It would be interesting to hear what students who are not academically at-risk expect from their teachers. Is it the same, or is it different?