I think it takes a full year to really get to know a student, which means I’m bidding my students farewell at about the point I actually understand them. There may be a few chatty students I meet with outside of class whom I get to know earlier than May, but there are far more students who say little over the course of the year and thus always remain a mystery to me.
To help get things going, I often give my students a personality questionnaire at the beginning of the year wherein I ask them to talk about themselves. It is an inquiry into beliefs, priorities, preferences, and favorites. The results of such surveys are invariably surprising and reveal the snap judgements I have made about students are often incorrect, but the results also clue me in to affinities I have with my students that I would have never otherwise discovered. The results also let me know what sort of work I have cut out for myself.
Feel free to use my survey, if you like, or modify it as you see fit.
What is your name?
Do you have any nicknames?
Which living person do you most admire?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What is your most treasured possession?
Where does your family go to church?
Why does your family go to this particular church?
What do you most value in your friends?
Name a few of your favorite films.
Name a few of your favorite bands or singers.
Name a few of your favorite tv shows.
Name a few of your favorite books.
Give me five words you would use to describe yourself.
Give me five words your teachers would use to describe you.
What is a misconception your teachers have about you?
If you had ten thousand dollars to spend at the store of your choice, what store would it be?
In what way are you most unlike other people your age?
What is your favorite book of the Bible?
In what ways are you an asset in class? As a student, what do you bring to the table?
Give me five words which describe an ideal student.
Tell me about something you’re going to do differently this year as a student. Name one important way in which you are going to try to improve as a student.
Aside from regular Scripture reading, what does it mean for a Christian to “take their faith seriously”?
In James 4, we read, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” What does “friendship with the world” look like?
How does a student earn the respect of their teachers?
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means “Not at all important” and 10 means “Highly important,” rate the importance of the following.
Listening to good music___
Eating good food___
Going to church___
Reading the Bible___
Reading good books___
Praying for your food___
Getting good grades___
Believing true theology___
Giving to the poor___