Sunday, December 20, 2009

Getting to Know Students

I have been a big believer in getting to know one’s students. I have found this helps with classroom management and motivation, but more importantly it is what makes the job of teaching fun and meaningful and worthwhile. At the same time, I am finding this very difficult to do within the context of these observations. I felt like I was making great progress when I was in the classroom 5 days a week, when I went down to 2, I felt like I moved backwards in this area. Some weeks I only saw my students once. One of my observation days the students were taking a standardized exam, another was parent-teacher conferences, recently I chaperoned a field trip, and there have been other interruptions. I used to know everyone’s name, but now I hesitate on a number of names. This is due in part to the fact that several students were also shuffled around to different classes and teachers about a month into school when CS was granted a few more FTEs (for higher student enrollment than expected). I’ve also found that when I was in the classroom less often, I felt less comfortable because I did not know the kids as well. As a result, I fell into a bad and self-defeating habit of talking more to the kids that I already knew. I could see how this could come across as favoritism on my part. I’ve started to intentionally break this habit, but I can see that it will take a long time to get to know 150 students, especially when class periods are fast paced and kids rush in and out as the bells rings and I don’t really have much of a chance to interact with students at other times.

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