My Masters program included my student teaching, and we would end each instructional day with a co-hort meeting to debrief and diffuse. I often remember my professor telling us to not take it personally after we shared our moments of frustration and the things students told us about our teaching abilities (usually during our instruction!). While I loved my co-hort professor, I now believe she was 100% WRONG!
We should take it personally!As each school year winds to a close, our students are more comfortable saying things that we should and NEED to hear. They tell us the good things we have done and the areas in which we need to improve. They tell us, simply, what they liked about us, and what they didn't.
Take it personally!
But why wait until the end of the school year to hear this vital feedback? Honest feedback is one of the greatest tools for learning. We should be asking the right questions to get the right answers every unit (if not every day!).
Take it personally!
It can be a simple unit assessment addition. My student surveys can help. First evaluate students and request feedback at the end of each unit with a student study survey. Teach students early on that feedback is good and it helps them grow!
Teach them to take it personally!
My end of the year survey is a two-part survey where they answer questions about their own setbacks and successes, and they have the opportunity to honestly tell me what they think. I also include a writing assignment where they are to write themselves, discussing where they will go from here and questioning themselves on what they will need (to do) to get there. But, the parts I focus on the most are the ones that tell me what I did wrong... and what I did right!
I take it personally!
The "professional" explanation for this is simple. I can apply their advice to my teaching and work toward making myself a better teacher with their words of inspiration. However, I find the "in your face" explanation much more relevant. I need to know if I have made a difference in their lives. I want to know if they have learned anything in my classes each unit and each year. And most importantly, while I am not concerned about their "liking" me, I do care whether or not I have earned their respect.
I take it very personally!