I believe I returned to ISB as a teacher a week prior to the 7Cs survey was conducted in classes during October 2019. The students hardly knew me, although I have a couple whom have shared with me that I have taught their siblings many years ago. I did not conduct the survey because I had just arrived and was in the midst of catching up with what was covered in my classes up to my first day of teaching.
My goal this year is to focus on Care. In the few weeks since I have been here, I have noticed the large amount of stress students are under, some of which poured itself into my classes by putting students on anxious moments in which they cannot perform while having a presentation, or by students missing classes because they are emotionally exhausted due to some issues at home. I found myself following up with varies students regarding the above, in addition to dealing with students who hand in late or have missing assignments.
Those whom I have reached out to and continue to reach out to know and are aware that I care about their wellbeing, and hence their progress in my classes.
What has helped give me time to focus more on this goal and pay particular attention to some students in class, this year, more so than in the past years teaching at ISB, is having another teacher co-teaching with me in the room.
The strategies I have put into place:
Email students right away
Follow up with their counselors, EAL and LS teachers
Follow up with students
Check in with students during most classes
On a different level, I want students to know that I also care about what they do outside of class as well. I am making more of an effort to be more involved in attending their performances in extra-curricular activities. Last week I went to see “Girls Like That.” I was shocked to see some of my most “quiet” students actually have a voice, and a strong one at that. Most importantly, I made a point to discuss how wonderful their performance was, to discuss the serious topic of the play, and acknowledge to them that their voice is integral in our classroom.
I also like the idea of extending more help by asking students to write a “Dear Teacher” letter if this will ease the uncomfortableness of talking with me directly about painful topics. It can even anonymous. Many students are shy, fear judgement and being lectured at. Writing an anonymous letter will allow to be more attentive to the fears my students may have, the anxieties they are experiencing. I can eventually look for patterns, make the connection to which particular students need more care, more help, discreetly. All my classes are large this year, with the exception of Lang & Lit HL (12 students). In that course, I feel I am able to balance my attention equally amongst my students. However, in my classes of 19-22 students, I feel some students can go unnoticed. Not intentionally. Yet, this is where I also feel co-teaching this year, has come in handy—one I may miss, my co-teacher brings to my attention and we are able to keep track of our students and try to keep a balance.