Recently, I took a few of my students out to lunch. I had a professor in college who would eat lunch with his students from time to time so I thought I would give it a try. It ended up being a great experience all around. The students opened up about everything from their family, friends, and goals in life. It gave me a very different view of who I am really teaching rather than just a grade and an ID number.
As a business teacher, I also picked their brains on what things they liked about my class and things I could improve on. I've done a lot of in class evaluations and formal evaluations given to us from administration. This experience was much better. I felt like I established credibility and more trust with the students at lunch. They were very candid with their answers to my questions. No student held back on the good things as well as the bad (even though I paid for the meal!) I learned a lot about myself as an educational professional. I took their request and opinions very seriously. Some students even gave me their own ideas on how to make projects better for them. It was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone who teaches at the secondary level.