Monday, November 3, 2008

Favorite & NOT SO Favorite Classrooms

I typically start my morning hour checking email, Google Reader, and Stumble. I came upon this post and thought I would share. As teachers, we sometime wonder about today's students and how they learn or behave differently from when we were kids. It's no questions that today's students are very different and very "wired" (with technology, that is, and I'm sure to some extent, the other definition as well.)

In this post, students share what they like and what they don't. I thought it would be good for all of us to read through this and to understand that we really aren't all that different at all. Some of these things listed I like and don't like in my workplace either.

Here is what a group of middle school students wrote what they like about their favorite classrooms and what they DO NOT like.

In our most favorite classrooms,

  • "...a teacher that is easy to relate to"
  • "...a teacher that is open minded and cool"
  • Sitting beside best friends in class
  • Acceptance
  • "We don't have to read out loud."
  • Fun and laughter
  • "We know we can speak out what we think and ask questions."
  • A good atmosphere "...a cozy room where you can work, but are still comfortable."
  • "...allows us to talk in a tolerable voice."
  • Exciting and fast; full of energy
  • "I feel safe."
  • "We get to draw and construct objects with boxes and cardboard."
  • "...not too easy but not too complicated either."
  • "The teacher explains things by using examples so it's easier to understand."
  • "We can chew gum and pass notes, and she doesn't SEE!"
  • Not too much homework
  • "Having a room that is specially made for that subject, like a science lab."
  • Having choices
  • Class discussions that you can relate to
  • They (classrooms) are quiet. There are no troublemakers.
  • Teacher makes learning fun, "...and you learn while having fun."
  • "When I talk to the teacher I'm not scared about looking her straight in the eye and talking. I feel comforted in her classroom."
  • Clean classrooms (spacious, bright and sunny classrooms)
  • Classrooms that are not too cool or too hot
  • "We feel special."
  • Art activities
  • Class work that is fun
  • "...a nice warm teacher who has a voice as sweet as honey."

Our (Not So) Favorite Classrooms:

  • "The teacher is sarcastic and the atmosphere feels hostile."
  • "She goes way too fast on lessons where you can't understand them and it really seems like she wants to go home. She needs some decorations for her room."
  • "The mood is tense. I have to sit straight up and answer her fast."
  • "She (the teacher) yells a lot because we don't always do things right."
  • "When one student makes a mistake the whole class has to suffer."
  • "It is hard and you have to remember all these dates and people and stuff about history."
  • "It's boring. We're always taking notes or doing hard, hard worksheets."
  • "We have to go up to the board. That's awful!"
  • "The teacher is always giving a lecture about why we should listen and be quiet."
  • "The teacher is always trying to talk over somebody."
  • "I know the teacher hates me."
  • "The teacher I just do not think is fair and some of the students are constantly getting innocent people in trouble."
  • "The teacher is always yelling, but never explaining the work. It is way too confusing."
  • "Gosh! They (the teachers) can be so mean with voices that cackle like a witch."
  • "I just don't like it when it's too hard or too boring. I don't know why I do not like math!"
  • "Rude teacher and rude students. ..never working in groups."
  • "There's fussing all the time."
  • "They don't have anything on the walls."
  • "After you get done with the work, you just sit there and stare at the walls."
  • "All you do is copy pages and pages of notes."
  • "You never get any time to communicate with others."
  • "...out of control kids that talk back to teachers..."
  • "The teacher gives us tons and tons of work, but won't help us out at all!"
  • "I sit there and listen to the teacher explaining how to do it (math) but I don't understand all the numbers and the problems."
  • "The teacher doesn't answer your questions."
  • "The teacher is nice and all, but goes too fast for me to understand anything."
  • "Sometimes the furniture is arranged in a way that makes us uncomfortable."
  • "Not having some of my friends in class with me."
  • "Some classrooms make you feel uncomfortable as soon as you walk in. Or even being yelled at for speaking my thoughts or for not getting something (understanding) what the teacher is teaching."
  • "It is dull and slow, with lots of work. The teacher is good but the room is sterile. There are no friends, just a bunch of loud mouths in the room."
  • "Having hard seats and no foot room is a real problem."
  • "Math. It is just at the wrong time of day for me."
  • "It is too harsh and we feel like the teacher hates us. There is too much homework, too much classwork and we never get to have an activity."
  • "The teacher is very loud which makes it uncomfortable and hard to think. The people in this class are always trying to start a conversation about something completely off the subject."
  • "The way the teacher represents the subject. Either they ramble on about nothing important or the teacher really doesn't understand what they are teaching or they don't know how to do it."
  • "Gym is my not-so-favorite class because we hardly every do anything except play basketball."

Read other interesting comments by students including: what they wish we knew and what matters most to them.

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