Monday, February 01, 2016

"Hey! How'm I doing?"

The older I get, and the more years that I teach, the faster I seem to want to get evidence from students that I passed the Ed Koch test.  You know, the answer to "How'm I doing?"

Back in the old days, I was content to wait for weeks, even the end of a term. Not anymore.  By the third week, or at least the fourth, I am looking for signs that I am making a difference.

Why this feedback fever?  It is simple.  In the early years of teaching, I thought teaching was about me.  Students were an afterthought.

Now that I am older and wiser, I couldn't care a shit if my lecture was great (which never is the case anyway!), or if I was flawless in the classroom, or ... My job is about the students.  Hence, I need to know from a student's perspective if I am doing ok.  Which is why the feedback fever that seems to set in earlier and earlier.

But, unlike Ed Koch, I can't walk around and ask students, "Hey, how'm I doing?"

Even though I cannot walk around asking that question, like with most things in life, we find something only because we are actively searching for it.  Seeking it.  Serendipity is rare.  Perhaps even serendipity is only because we were on that path; else, that awesome whatever would not have appeared by itself.  If I am not thinking about "how'm I doing?" from a student's perspective, then chances are that I will be doing worse than I would like to.

It has been four weeks into the term.  Perhaps the feedback will come later. Or maybe not.  It might turn out that this term I made no difference to any student.  Que sera sera!

I cleaned up the desk.  I put away the papers.  I turned around.  I looked at the four shelves of cards from students.

"I'm doing alright" I reassured myself.

Now, if only a student would tell me that! ;)


Ramesh said...

Why have your kiddos sent you four shelves of cards ? Its not Christmas time, Thanksgiving time, not even Diwali time ........

You are doing alright, my friend .

Sriram Khé said...

No, those are not from Christmas or Diwali, my friend ... just simple thank-you cards, and a few more.
It was only two shelves full ... it has grown, which is why I am very happy ;)

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