Monday, 8 February 2016

School's back and I'm already over it!

The school year has officially started, and you know what that means! Teachers forcing us to play ridiculous 'getting to know you' games. We've all had our fair share of them, starting in primary with the "tell us your name and your favourite ice cream." As we get older it changes to "name, age, and one fact about yourself." These sorts of interactions are bad enough as it causes you to be put on the spot which usually results in forgetting everything you know about yourself, but also often causes the year to get off to an awkward start. 

From my experience as a pupil I know that majority of students dread these 'introductions' and the teacher announcing it usually follows with a chorus of groans, and yet they still do it. Even more frustrating are the 'Human Treasure Hunts' and having to introduce the person next to you. To be perfectly honest I'm pretty sure that most people don't care who the person next to them is at first, they came to learn, and they'll usually get to know them within a couple days to a week anyway.

This gets worse as you get to High School because the teachers claim that these pointless facts help them to get to know you or help them remember your name, and then they spend the next three months forgetting your name anyway. After the first year, you know majority of the people in your year, and assuming you stay at a steady level throughout your High School years you'll always know the majority of your classmates anyway. 

I started year 11 last Friday and so far over two school days, six of my seven classes have done introductions like this of some sort. These introductions have included:

  • getting into groups and introducing each other
  • telling the class your name and favourite historical character
  • drawing a fact about yourself and having someone else attempt to introduce it
  • writing a Facebook meme
  • a number of self introductions

Don't get me wrong, I think student/teacher relationships are super important as it makes it much easier for the teacher to both manage you as a student and manage your learning. And on the student side of the relationship, it makes you feel more comfortable in the classroom and makes it easier to go to your teacher for help. Despite this, the first day doesn't do much towards this relationship.

I have spent two six hour days at school so far this year and yet have learnt nothing due to the majority of classes being taken up by introductions and class rules that we already know. I don't understand why teachers seem to think it necessary to do introductions in this way, they learn the students names while taking the roll anyway and what does how many siblings they have, or what their favourite sport is have to do with anything? 

Speaking to a room full of random students can be quite a terrifying thing to do on your first day, especially if you are shy or deal with social anxiety. I find myself rehearsing saying 'here' in my head as the teacher comes up to my name in the roll for fear I'll mess it up, so being put on the spot to say something personal about myself is something I loathe entirely. 

This is just my opinion on the matter, however if you share my views, or have a totally different opinion about this please comment and let me know what you think :-) 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing!
    I'm curious, do you think if this stuff actually matters to the teacher that you would feel different?

    I'm a teacher guilty of many introduction activities - but I always use them to design my lessons so that they relate to what my students are interested in and care about. It's how I know which school sports games to go and watch, what tasks to scrap or which to keep. What do you think? Or should I just ditch the activities all together?

    So this has me wondering... Is the problem not the activities but rather that the teacher doesn't care enough about the responses, and actually do something with them?

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    1. The fact that the the introductions don't seem to matter to the teachers at all does bother me, but the introductions in general seem to annoy me. If the introductions help you to shape your learning that's useful but for most students it's just teachers repeating the same thing year after year and it gets boring really quickly. If we had to a introductory worksheet it'd usually be scrapped within a week anyway, This is just my experience with the teachers that I've had, for others it might be different.

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