Yesterday my Spanish 2 (from now on to be called ‘pumpkins’ because that’s what I call them every now and then ^^) had their finals. And I think we all had fun!
I mean, so far, the chemistry I’ve had with my pumpkins has been great. All of them (except for one student, but he has quickly adapted to our class dynamics) have been with me since Spanish 1 (last year), so they all understand how I want our class to roll: fun + learning + good attitude and integrity. And thank God, they are all on board. I must admit, they receive a stern rebuke every now and then, but overall they are absolute angels. They are enthusiastic learners with great attitudes. What more could a teacher ask for?
Now, for their final exam, I asked them to memorize any of the Spanish conversations we did during the semester, and told them they were free to change the conversations up a bit. I was ready to grade it, but I was very pleasantly surprised to see my sweet pumpkins not only excel in their conversations, but put their own flair and creativity into them. Even my most shy students did such a great job that I forgot I was a ‘teacher’ and that I was supposed to ‘grade’ them. Why? Because they went beyond grading by preparing not only the necessary Spanish to pass, but putting their own color into it. And better yet! They were enjoying it! We were all smiles and laughs as they said their crazy lines and some of them even acted things out!
Then, believe it or not, things got better.
You see, along with their written exam, I gave them a survey. In it they had to rate from 1 to 5 how I, as a teacher, performed in different areas. Amazingly, some students put a 3 or a 2 on ‘Right amount of homework’ because it was “too…less” or “we need more <3” (Indicating they were thirsty to learn more!!!). Some students asked if they could add a 6 to the rating system. Some students got even more creative and wrote numbers like 25,736,278,695 for ‘Overall satisfaction with the class’. (TOO ADORABLE!!)
And lastly, after they were done with the written exams, someone mentioned the possibility of doing Spanish 3 altogether next year and we all cheered at the thought of it. My heart still flutters thinking about the positive vibes we had during our final exam (I mean, normally, finals are supposed to provide a ‘stressful/strained environment’, right? Not in our class!).
I am not saying this to boast my teaching skills, because I know I have none of that (I am barely on my second year of teaching!). I am the least of teachers. Instead, I am sharing this gem of an experience because I believe it is getting me closer to the heart of education (my quest since graduating college!), which is not about grades, or getting into a great college, but learning something meaningful together with the students. Both teacher and students are learners in the classroom.
I am so grateful to be experiencing this kind of class environment because I know it is something that is jointly made by the students and the teacher. And every time my students understand my heart and I understand theirs, I feel like there is more mutual trust and respect going and coming from each other. And that, inevitably makes subject learning more fun and interesting.