Everywhere you go, companies are constantly asking for feedback. Whether it’s in the form of a comment card after you eat at a restaurant, or on the back of your receipt after shopping. Even apps in our phones have pop-ups asking us, the consumers, to rate them and give our feedback about their product. They are, after all, in the service industry. You know who else is in the service industry?
As a service industry, shouldn’t we also be asking for feedback? Not just feedback about the campus, but specific feedback about our teaching craft.
As we move forward with innovative teaching and personalized learning, it is important that students be involved in the process so they can feel empowered enough to own their education. This is why it is imperative that we receive feedback about our teaching. Yes, we get our yearly teaching evaluations, but as we all know, most of these are based on snapshots throughout the year.
Our very best source of feedback are our students.
They are the ones in our rooms, day after day, as the consumers. Just like companies want our opinions so that they can better serve us, we should want to know what our students think so we can better teach them. We should want to teach at the very best of our ability and know that we are doing right by them.
At the end of every quarter, I have my students fill out a Google Form where they tell me how I’m doing. It is both a feedback survey and a student voice inventory. I ask about certain things based on a scale score and other questions are open-ended. I ask about the rigor, the pace, interest, and even about their feelings. I ask them which methods of instruction they prefer and which ones they can do without. I’ll admit that it can be rather petrifying to ask my students to rate me, but at the same time I feel that it is necessary for me to know this so I can grow as an educator. We can sometimes be oblivious about certain things. Not necessarily on purpose, but simply because we are constantly on the go and don’t always have time to reflect. Even when we do reflect on our performance, it is subjective and not always accurate.
By asking our students how they feel, we begin to grasp a better understanding of how we are doing and where we can improve.
In the next couple of weeks, we will begin creating our personalized learning profiles. Not only will these profiles help us identify strengths and areas of improvement, they will also help drive our summer professional development. The profiles will be generated by a self-reflection survey. However, it is equally important that we ask our students to share their voice. Along with the personalized learning profiles, the P2L team has created student voice surveys. They are differentiated for K-2 (with emoji scales), 3–5, middle school, and high school. I urge you to use these surveys to gather feedback about your performance straight from the very ones we serve daily. They are short, 5-questions surveys that will provide deep insight about our performance and how we are affecting our learners.
We need to continue to improve ourselves so we can truly ensure that our students are entering with a promise and exiting with a purpose.
~Written by Teresa Hurtado