"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The pupils have have spoken. I'm just not sure what they said.

In our ongoing cycle of management imposed self-improvement we have reached the stage in the school year when we are encouraged to seek pupil feedback. Someone has found a template evaluation sheet which has been adapted for each subject area. Mine is Religious Studies. The first thing I did was to remove the word "boring" from the list of possible responses: the form was clearly not designed by a teacher. Every child believes every subject is boring: it is a Pavlovian response.

I was gratified to discover that the vast majority of my students believe that I explain things clearly, that I am exciting and interesting to listen to, that my work is well presented and organised, that I am enthusiastic about my subject and that my lesson objectives are clear. There are two questions on the evaluation sheet which have elicited some interesting responses however.
  • What should the teacher do less of?
  • What should the teacher do more of?
Predictably some of my more disaffected students have answered for the first question:
  • Religion
  • God
  • Writing - or in one case," writting".
  • Homework
  • Worksheets: (I don't use worksheets so I wonder where that one has been in his head in my lessons ).
  • Copying from text books: (I tend not to use text books either).
When it came to considering what I should do more of, some pupils clearly saw this as a more general wish-list.
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Dress as a polar bear
  • Paint yourself green and pretend to be a brocolli.
  • Striptease.
  • Kill .......... (insert name of child who has been getting on your nerves.)
  • French
My lessons from now on will be very interesting.


  1. I think the list of things you should do less of are excellent suggestions which we all should aspire to. And I will certainly be dressing like a polar bear more often from now on.

  2. But I thought teachers were all-singing-and-dancing practitioners with a bit of juggling thrown in.

    1. Do take care about suggesting juggling. The very last time I ever sat in the front row of a class, my Engineering Mechanics professor saw fit to demonstrate a principle of dynamics by juggling a claw hammer.

  3. Sing, dance, Dress as polar bear, eh? Throw in riding a unicycle, and you'll have an act you can take to Britian's Got Talent when you retire! You're sure to win!

    1. I used to think they were more sophisticated but now I'm not so sure.

      I remember once wheeling the TV/DVD combo in and before I'd even announced what I showing one kid raised her eyebrows in a mock longsuffering look and said "Boring." I used to think that even a striptease and a tap-dance wouldn't move them!

    2. After watching BGT on youtube, and seeing the level of talent that sent everyone over the top, I figured you could win. I did love David Walliams a lot. I even bought his book 'Boy in the Dress,' and enjoyed it(yes I do have a juvenile brain).

  4. Do the broccoli impersonation when Ofsted come in. Explain you were responding to student feedback.