I've been replaying a conversation from Friday over and over in my head this weekend. After each run down, I'm left with the same question, "What makes a good teacher?"
I spoke with a staff member on Friday who was counseling an upperclassman who is not doing well on quizzes in math this year. In this conversation, the student said I was her best math teacher from previous years. The staff member went to look at her previous grades and she actually had the lowest grade in my math class of any she'd taken since 7th grade. The staff member was puzzled and maybe a bit amused. Can an A student earn a C in a class and still think that teacher is good? I think so, but it would take considerable maturity on the part of the student, particularly if the student gets As and Bs in other classes.
So, I'm trying to dissect what went well. Looking back on the class in question, I had a pretty great mix of students in this student's class period. There was one who liked to be foolish, but the rest were definitely with the program. I took my first grad class that fall and started to incorporate Kagan structures in the spring with gusto, even doing a complete redesign of my room's layout and swapping furniture to make it happen. I used random grouping on a regular basis; I would post names on a pocket chart and they'd regroup without whining. In fact, they adjusted to all the changes with almost no issues. That was also the school year when I really dove into the #MTBoS by reading blogs and I started blogging myself.
I really want to ask the student what stood out about my class so I can help other teachers incorporate those ideas however I don't think the student expected her comment to be shared.
What do you think? Can an A student earn a C in a class and still think that teacher is good?