At the end of last year, I started to notice I didn’t talk to every student every day. I thought I was. I had great relationships with my students and I prided myself on knowing the students. Then, I started to keep track to see if I talked to every student every day. I didn’t. Depending on what we were doing in class, there could be days I didn’t say much of anything to any student. I began to think of how students could go their entire day at school and not directly talk to a teacher.
This year, I wanted to change that. I bought a notebook and had my class rosters printed out on labels so I could stick it on a page in a notebook. (Huge thank you to Patty Hartwig for figuring out the sizing of the names to place in the book!)
Now I know.
I write the date and what we talked about. To be clear, I don’t want this to be just about forming relationships. Rather, I want the relationship that is built to be centered around learning. Therefore, the conversation or interaction is around either how they are curating their learning, setting goals, or monitoring progress towards their goal. I write the conversation in front of the student so there are no secrets. I don’t want this to be seen as something punitive. And, now I know that I talked to, or not, every student ever day.
It’s simple, but not easy.
I have found that if I want to talk to every student about learning, I have to change how I teach. In the first few weeks of school, the forced change shifted how I spent the period and my relationship with each student. It allowed time for a moment (almost) every day for them to see that I care about them and what they are learning. Added bonus, tt gives them a forum to advocate for help or let me know the things they have questions about.
Even though I made the effort to do it every day, I haven’t. There are days I leave the notebook in my bag. There are other days where the way I set up the class didn’t allow me to talk to every student. I feel different when I don’t get the opportunity to interact with each student every day. I’m hoping I keep at and get more consistent in doing it.