Mid Year Reflection: Student Contracts

Kids wrote an anonymous paragraph on the back of a copy of their class contract, discussing how the first half of the year went in terms of my promises. Call it a Politifact for the classroom. First time I’ve done a midyear assessment. Won’t be the last.

In brief:

  • Students overwhelmingly report satisfaction with their contracts, which cover everything from treating kids with respect to changing up styles of teaching.
  • A significant amount report that the reading time (supposed to be 10 minutes) is taking way too long in the beginning of class– I get tangled in choosing books, disciplinary calls, dashing off the grading I hadn’t quite completed and want to get back to the kids in a timely fashion– you name it. Embarrassing, since I would really like to be the only one who’s noticed. Time management continues to be a massive challenge for me, since my natural inclination is to teach as if I have the care of only the student in front of me, not 76 times that amount.
  • They hate– HATE– the peace sign we developed for getting attention and quieting down. This is clearly because I overuse it, flashing it several times in a class conversation instead of limiting it to key transitions. The kids and I will need to figure something else out for “you’re wandering off track/please come back to us/my thought is not completed yet/we’re only half way through instructions, guys.”
  • Two kids report that I don’t keep my appointments, which is statistically insignificant, but still burns. Is it true? Yes, especially when a meeting backs up to lunchtime and flows over. Totally my bad. When I remember than an appointment with the principal is less important than one with a child, I do better. On the flip side, do I have a file an inch thick of appointment slips missed by kids? Yep. We’ll talk about that too.
  • They also want more games. (They always want more games. Hell, who doesn’t?) It’s not too much to ask, though, that one of my loops through the content be game-based, or that home-based practice becomes a type of game.
  • Fun reports: roughly equal amounts of kids reporting that my pace is too fast or too slow; and roughly equal amounts of kids reporting that I give too much homework, and not enough homework. This is where an anonymous survey shows its weaknesses; since if I knew who was complaining about what, I could tailor my responses. As it is, I will have to trust that the much larger amount of kids who report satisfaction with homework and pace is the one I should be sleeping on at night.

How do you guys gather student satisfaction data?

2 thoughts on “Mid Year Reflection: Student Contracts

  1. About the timing thing…I invested in a kitchen timer that counts both up and down. I love it. The kids respond to it — and I can always grant more time if it’s needed. I have fewer off-taskers and use my time more efficiently.

    I’m going to poke around here a bit more; I’m interested in the contract this post mentions.

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