This weekend I’ve been reading and thinking about the surveys I gave my students the first day of class. I’ve given the same survey for years now and every year some interesting trends and patterns emerge. This isn’t a full analysis but just some of the things that struck me.

In asking about when students have been proud of learning something, over and over I see mentions of being able to apply something learned in school to real life. The specific situations mentioned varied a lot. Another big trend was being able to teach or explain it to someone else. I feel like my government class will encourage both of those quite well but I’m not so sure about history.

I asked about what I could do to support their learning and many students talked about being helpful and enthusiastic. Many also worried about the pace of the class- making sure they understand before moving on, not going too slow and boring them and so on. Sophomores were more likely to mention fun and perceived fun activities (movies, working with friends, games) and help reviewing. A lot of my seniors (who have taken other AP classes) mentioned making the work meaningful and making sure that class work, homework & tests all align.

Many of my seniors when asked about their concerns after they graduate talked about paying for college and dealing with student loans. This depresses me. Is this really what we want them focused on?

This year I want to focus more on supporting individual students- I want to conference, I want to come back to the info in the surveys by individual, not just by trends. I’m still not sure of how but I know I need to do better at that.