One of the most important things we can do when we return to school (either in a virtual setting or an in person one that I assume will still feel very distant as we try to talk through masks) will be to build community and get to know our students.
These famous lyrics from the musical The King and I, state the importance of establishing a community so that learning can take place and not just for students:
Getting to know you
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you
Getting to know what to say
Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly I’m bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I’m learning about you
Day by day
One of my first steps to getting to know my students is through them completing an interest survey. This year I chose to divide it into two: personal information about themselves and another about their learning preferences. As you will see the one about their learning includes lots of reflection questions plus questions about last year‘s remote learning experience. Since much of this year will be a hybrid model, it is important for me to hear about some of the pros and cons of their past experience. And like the song says as we move forward we will learn more about our students if that is a goal for us as educators! It sure is for me especially as we work our way through very uncertain and extra-stressful times.
Here are copies of my Google Form Surveys that you can copy and modify for your students.
Peace and tranquility as we move into this new school year. Gary