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Getting to know your students - really, getting to know them.

Guest Post: Melissa-Ann Pero

Last spring, I attended a Gay Straight Alliance Student Summit, and at a session, a presenter talked about how important it is for teachers to know a little bit of personal information about our students. I usually started off the year telling my students things about me, but after this conference, I decided to redo my first day of school routine.

But what do I want to know about the students in my classroom?

I scoured my PLN through searches, pages, and hashtags. I found many different options but decided the tools I needed to make the best connections included personal and school stuff. I tried to mix up what I asked and how I asked, and this is my final questionaire:

  • What name do you want me to use during class? (Do you prefer a nickname?)

  • Choose the pronoun you prefer

  • What is your favorite candy?

  • If you are allergic to any food, please let me know what it is.

  • What is the last thing you read that was over one full page long?

  • What are the qualities you look for in a good teacher?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • What are your strengths, and how can we utilize them for success in this class?

  • What is one thing you feel like you MUST learn in this class?

  • Besides passing in order to graduate or a final grade, what does success in this class look like to you?

  • What is your karaoke anthem?

  • Complete this sentence: I want to be remembered as . . .

I’ve learned what music my students listen to. What expectations students have for my course. What types of candy I’ll be stocking up on after Halloween. And most importantly, what things I can do to make them feel the most comfortable during class.

One student’s response of the pronoun preference question is, “I am genderfluid. I like any, especially he/they, and I really respect that you ask this.” That response alone gives me the confirmation that this has been a great way to start off my year!

About Melissa:

Melissa-Ann Pero is a high school English teacher and yearbook advisor currently working on her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She has presented at various district, area, and state conferences in Pennsylvania. She is a Google Level 1 Educator, an Apple Certified Teacher, a Keystone Technology Innovator, and a bit of an edtech junkie. She’s always looking grow her PLC so please follow her on Twitter @bshsmspero.

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