Last fall, I posed a question to my 5th grade students. "If you could describe your perfect teacher, what words would you use to describe him or her?"
I wasn't sure what sort of response my students would give me. This particular group that I surveyed is my afternoon block. Composed of 27 students from three different homerooms, the group is quite energetic. The students are very high achieving math students, some even taking 6th level math. Every day is unpredictable with these 27 inquisitive minds. I adore the group and love their passion for learning. With the afternoon setting, students are sometimes visibly restless before they even enter my room. Sitting quietly and completing work is out of the question.
So back to the original question, "If you could describe your perfect teacher, what words would you use to describe him or her?" This is what my students had to say:
(The image was created with Wordle - one of my favorite free online tools!)
I was pleasantly surprised by the students' honesty, as well as effort for truly thinking about the qualities they valued in a teacher. Some other phrases that I could not include in the wordle are listed below.
"Interacts a lot with students"
"Likes to learn in a more fun way"
It is important to "be able to communicate with a teacher"
"Provides clear directions"
"Encourages people a lot" and "doesn't criticize people so much"
"Doesn't compare you to other people"
"Someone that isn't serious EVERY single second; can be funny and interactive"
All of this confirmed some general expectations of a teacher: kind, supportive, caring, etc. I was surprised by the fact that these students not only desire teachers that are academically challenging, but emotionally and physically, too. The students want a teacher that understand them and is relatable. They want a teacher that is unbiased in her views and understands theirs, even if it is not always the same. Students value the health and involvement of the teacher, both in and outside of the classroom.
As we begin a new year and vow to stick to our resolutions, how many of us considered the role we play in the classroom as we made those resoutions?
Based in Doha currently, I am a technology-advocating learning junkie.