What do they have to say?
I’m always looking for new ways to meet with students and find out what they think about our school. Often, their input pushes my thinking about our approach to delivering one of our services. I still advocate for meeting kids where they are, by sitting down at a table in the cafeteria to have lunch with students, or approaching them at a sporting event or performace. Recently, I began building into my schedule a class period each week to meet with kids to ask them about their experience at our school.
I select the first student at random, invite them in to my office, and open by asking a few questions about their interests. I then get to “the point” by asking:
– What do you like about our school?
– If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about our school, what would it be?
– What questions do you have about our school?
I find several trends in these meetings. Our students are interested in healthy options at lunch time, enjoy classes that allow them to “build” or “create” something, and often wonder what teachers do after they go home. These meetings are growing in notoriety within our student body, and have gone a long way in showing our students just how valuable they are to our building.
I will close with the top stories I can offer about this project. Weeks ago, I had an 8th grade boy in my office. When asked what he would change, he said “my bus stop.” He indicated that if he were allowed to get off the bus two stops earlier, he would be closer to his house, would get home earlier, and could get his homework done, creating more time to go outside and see his friends. Calls to the bus garage and then his parents made a quick change, and a positive outcome for a quiet student who would never have complained. At another meeting, a student raved about some work a teacher had been doing. When I approached her and complimented her instruction and the project she had kids working on, she was appreciative. After discovering I found out about how well it was going from one of her students who loved her course, she was ecstatic!
It’s a small investment in time that is yielding many positive returns.