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Student Interviews:

1. Tell me about the teacher you learned the most from. What did he or she do that helped you?
S1: Mrs. Brown because she was very patient.
S2: Not really a teacher, but my older sister helped tutor me and helped me get ahead in school. Having
her for help made me feel safe.
S3:Mr. Blakenstein because he liked doing discussions in class and made a welcoming and safe space for
2. What kinds of things can teachers do to make you feel valued?
S1: Teachers can spend time helping students one-on-one and taking the time to really explain concepts
and check for understanding instead of skimming through the information.
S2: I think it makes me feel important when the teachers look at students individually like instead of
punishing the whole class for one students behavior.
S3: My favorite teacher Mr. Blakenstein made students feel valued by making sure everyones voice was
heard and everyone had equal time to speak.
3. Do you feel comfortable asking questions or asking for help in class? Why or why not?
S1: I dont like asking questions in class. I like asking my questions after class so I dont waste the
teachers time.
S2: I feel okay with it if I really need to, but if I can wait I will so I dont interrupt the class.
S3: Yes, when a teacher establishes its a safe place no one feels judged for their questions or answers.
4. What makes you feel motivated to work hard in class?
S1: We had a substitute the other day that would not tell us if the work was going to be collected or not
so we felt like we had to do it, just in case.
S2: At my old school we had a gold program where students got points for doing their work and were
rewarded for those points.
S3: Grades. Also, I am more likely to work hard if the teacher makes the work interesting and presents it
5. How can a teacher make class work more meaningful for you as a student?
S1: When teachers do something fun/ switch things up it makes it more fun. When teachers just do
lectures you just sit there and take notes and dont want to work.
S2: I like to have choices of working with partners or working alone. Sometimes I work harder if I am
alone, but sometimes having a partner can help if I have questions.

S3: Kids are self-centered, so I think it helps when teachers make connections between the material and
the students.
6. How should a teacher act when students in a class act mean or cruel to each other?
S1: One of my teachers uses a think sheet for students to answer questions about their behavior, but
some students dont take it seriously. It is a teachers job to tell the students to knock it off.
S2: Teachers should give them a warning. If they keep disrupting they should get their seat moved and
get a mark. Three marks and they should get suspended.
S3: Teachers should make sure that the class knows the rules and that there is no tolerance for that
from the beginning. They should give students space to work out their own issues, but intervene when
7. How should a teacher act when a student disrupts class?
S1: It depends on the level of disruption. If it is bad enough, the teacher should keep them into recess. It
should work on a three strike system.
S2: Teachers should give them a warning. If they keep doing it every time the teacher looks away, they
should get detention. With a strike system, they should have the ability to work off their previous strikes
with good behavior.
S3: Some teachers constantly yell, but students know they make empty threats. The teachers that just
look at students with disappointment have better success.
Interview with mentor teacher:
1. What advice could you offer me on how to get the best from my students in the classroom?
Kids work best when engaged which is the challenge.
2. What strategies are helpful for engaging kids?
Cooperative learning strategies are great for engaging kids. I like to use Kagan Cooperative Learning
techniques in particular.
3. What classroom management strategies or approaches have you found to be effective? Ineffective?
It is important to recognize positive behavior and set expectations. It is also important to keep cool, stay
positive and be reasonable. We need to be reasonable as teachers to let kids see reason. If we respond
reasonably, they will do so as well. If we respond emotionally, kids will respond emotionally. It is very
important to remain fair and set clear expectations such as giving three warnings and then administering
a minor referral. These consequences must be consistent, and actually carried out.

4. What helps motivate kids to work hard?

It is important to set high expectations, but these must be attainable. Engagement is key. If students are
engaged, they will want to do well. They will strive if they can see a purpose to the learning, and real
world applications.
5. What advice do you wish someone would have given you before your first year teaching?
I knew what to expect in my first year teaching, but it was harder than I thought it would be. I wish I was
more prepared with better classroom management techniques when student teaching.
6. What kind of issues did you encounter as a new teacher that you were not expecting? How did you
handle them?
I was not expecting to experience the pendulum swing which basically means that districts and states
will push you in one direction, give you tons of training, and then change the expectations a year later. I
learned to handle this by being flexible. While this is frustrating, it is out of my control.

My main take away from this interview process is the importance of keeping students engaged. Both the
students I interviewed, as well as my mentor teacher, mention the importance of keeping students
engaged in the curriculum. In both interviews, it is mentioned that if students see real world
applications and meanings relevant to their lives, they will work harder and learn better. Also, both
interviews mentioned collaborative learning as a way to keep students engaged. My mentor teacher
suggested that I look into Kagan Cooperative Learning Techniques in order to get ideas on how to keep
students working collaboratively and stay engaged in the classroom.
Another major takeaway I had is the importance of following through with consequences for behavior.
As mentioned by all of the students, as well as my mentor teacher, consequences must be given fair
warning, yet followed through with. One student insightfully said that students learn which teachers will
and will not actually follow through on punishing behavior, and the students will act accordingly.
Punishments must be delivered fairly, and the class must be aware of the consequences for various
actions, as well as the number of strikes before these consequences kick in.