Update on one of my resolutions
FYI: Writing this entry through a fog of midweek exhaustion.
In a previous blog, one of my professional New Year's resolutions was to be more personable with my students and connect more one-on-one. I started requiring students to write a weekly email to me each Friday after reading about another teacher's experience with it. I usually provide some guidelines for topics. For example, last week they had to describe a current goal in the first paragraph, summarize their group's assigned educational philosophy in the second paragraph, and then share one aspect of school they would change if they could in the last paragraph.
I am surprised at how willingly they write these each week, and they are equally surprised that I respond to every one of them. I feel like I know them a little better and I'm able to identify misunderstandings and provide feedback. I also correct any major writing errors in the form of quick writing tips at the end of my responses. I discovered that several of my students have serious writing issues, and I now meet with them on Reteach and Enrich Fridays to help them with their writing and also reteach concepts that still seemed foggy to them.
Most importantly, the classroom environment is warmer this semester, and I think my students know that I care about them. It is so difficult sometimes during class to make sure I speak to each student individually (that is still a goal each day), but with the weekly email, I know I have touched base at least once that week with each student.