Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"He want use ot pay twenty-five ticket for an small little honey-bun which I barely get ticket for."

I’ll be upfront and say I was nervous to ask my students if they thought I was fair. I surveyed my students after Doug and Carmelle, and they both got mainly positive feedback. My classes are okay, but I still struggle with consistency, and I was sure my students would mention that. Anyway, I put the question up on the board this past Monday. I planned on asking my first period class (who are great) and my sixth period class (who are not so great). I wanted to see how the two would compare. In first period, my life is easy (relatively speaking). I only give out a handful of warnings and only a few copy assignments. My sixth period is the opposite. I feel like I’m on patrol and checkmarks accumulate like crazy. When Monday started, though, the counselor came to my homeroom and said in ten minutes a substitute would be coming in for my class. I was to report to the office to take part in administering state test make-ups. The world came crashing down because I had not planned for a sub. I frantically started compiling work for three preps and the “Is the teacher fair” question became a question for every class. Luckily I was only gone for the first four periods, but that increased my number of responses tremendously.
The glorious end of the day finally approached. It was time to read my reviews. I was nervous and not emotionally prepared to read negative feedback, but then again, when would I ever be? I started with first period and they were so nice. Some students made some valid points such as when I go after the student who rebuttals more than the one who started it. Some just wrote basic responses like “he fair” and “no he not fair” but gave no support for the comment. There were a few really great ones that said I was their favorite teacher or I get along with the students really well. Nothing can put in a good mood faster than that. It was time to read second period – my wonderful Latin I students. They were just as nice. In class I received my most comical responses. One student’s reasoning for why I wasn’t fair was because my ticket price for a honey bun (25 tickets) was unreasonable and he’ll never get that many (which is a lie because I hand out tickets like crazy). Anyway, I’ll fast forward to sixth period where I was really curious to read the responses. Everyone but two people said I was unfair. I half expected this to happen. I could only take one or two of the responses into consideration because the rest were all unsupported criticisms. I was surprised by one response. A girl who in the beginning of the school year I had so much trouble with responded that I was fair. Side note – these were “anonymous” in the sense that they didn’t have their names on it, but let’s be real…I’m their teacher and I know their handwriting. I was pleasantly surprised to read her response.
I’m glad we had to ask our students if we were fair. I probably would have never done it otherwise or would have been too afraid to read the answers. I’ll say that I left school with a smile on my face, and it was not just because the school day was over.

1 comment:

  1. Charlie, you are fair because you provide them everyday with the opportunity to learn. Our students are so fickle; their opinions of everything change as the wind blows. What's funny is asking them to define fairness. Additionally, make them justify their answers and see what happens. I was excited about polling my kids because I knew that I'd read a bunch of hilarious and unfounded responses. I know that consistency is one of the things that we must strive to improve on daily, but the kids have to realize when they're inconsistent as well. Just tell them that everything works out fine on the days when they come in focused and ready to work. They only say you're not fair when you hit them with consequences for behaviors they chose to engage in. If you break it to them that way, you'll be fine. But I'm sure you're doing big things down there in Hollandale. "Keep it gangsta!!!"