Teaching Tips from Students

In the beginning of every new school year, I always try to get to know my students as best as I can. One of the ways I get to know my students is by having them complete a student survey that asks a lot of telling questions (what their biggest accomplishment is, who lives at home with them, and what their motto is). I keep these surveys handy throughout the first few weeks of a new school year, and I constantly refer back to them to find out more about each student.

One of the most telling questions on my Back to School Survey for Secondary Students provides me with invaluable information about what each student needs in order to be successful in my class.  Every year, I ask my students what I can do to help them be more successful in my classroom.
The vast majority of students answer this question genuinely. However, I usually have a few students respond with answers like, “no homework,” and “buy me donuts.” When students really take this question to heart though, their answers provide me with so much insight and push me as their teacher to be a more effective educator.  

After reading 100+ responses to this question, I compiled some of the most helpful and insightful student responses. Yes, they are our students and we are their teachers, but we can definitely learn from our students. All we have to do is be willing to ask and listen.

So, here is what students want us to know. Here is what students say we as teachers can do to help them succeed in our classrooms.

  • “What you can do to help me be successful is explain every single topic and lesson with great detail.”
  • “Explain things in different ways.”
  • “Don’t go too fast when teaching.”
  • “When I write an essay, read [it] and give feedback. Push me to do better. Make it fun to be involved.”
  • “You can offer help and make the lesson easier if it is hard, or wait [until] everyone has got it. Then move on.”
  • “Please stay on top of me no matter how small the assignment. I will procrastinate.”
  • “Announce important dates so I can’t forget.”
  • “Being supportive and understanding would help me a lot.”
  • “Help me catch my mistakes and correct them.”
  • “Do reviews before a test or major quiz.”
  • “Be understanding. Try and be in my footsteps because I have a lot of responsibilities.”
  • “Explain clearly what we are doing.”
  • “Something you can do is call on me for any question in order for me to learn.”
  • “Teach me well, push me to do my best, and make things interesting. That is my way of learning.
  • “Well I don’t usually understand when people give directions the first time, so I will ask a lot of questions.”
  • “Thoroughly explain assignments, help us with essays, and be fun.”
  • “Try to break down the lessons so I or we can understand.”
  • “Listen to what the student has to say and put yourself in their shoes.”
  • “You can always tell me right away what I’m missing or what OI need to do if my grade is going down.”

This question is on my FREE Back-to-School Student survey. You can download it for free HERE!

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