Saturday, January 25, 2020

Feedback is not just for students

        We all know how important feedback is for our students.  Feedback that describes what a student is doing well and the changes they need to make help them learn and improve.  However, feedback is not just for our students.  Teachers can benefit from it as well.    Usually, the only feedback we receive of our teaching comes from our administrators who drop in for a minutes every once in a while or they might stay to see one lesson that we spent hours crafting to show off our best self.  But this is not real feedback.  They don't see the real us.   If you want honest feedback about how you are truly doing and the impact you are having than the only people that can give you feedback are those that are with you every day, your students.

        Once a quarter I ask my students to anonymously give me feedback on what is working, what is not working, and what I can do to make it better.   The key is to make it anonymous so that students feel free to tell you how they really feel without fear that you will be upset with them.  I ask them many different questions about what I teach and how I teach so that I can modify my lessons and teachings to better suit their needs.   I also have them rate me as a teacher and give me feedback on what I can do to become a better teacher.   

Some of the questions I ask are: 
- Which activity best helped you learn the standards?  (they would then choose from a drop down list)
- Which activity best helped you to review the standards and prepare for the test? (again another drop down list)
- Which activity do you wish we did more of? (drop down list)
- Which activity do you wish we did less of? (drop down list)
- I would have them rate each activity on a scale of 1-5 and explain their rating

        I would then have them rate my ability to teach them the standards and prepare them for the state test with a rating of 1-10. If they didn't give me a 10 they had to tell me what I could do to become a 10. I would also have them rate my ability to teach them skills they would need for life on a scale of 1-10 and again ask them to tell me what I would need to do to make it a 10.  Finally, I would ask them to rate me as a teacher overall and again explain why.

        The feedback I receive is eyeopening and helpful.  For example, my students have said that the online investigations they do are the best for helping them to reinforce the information and that they wish I did more of them.  They wish I did less CER (claim, evidence, reasoning) paragraphs but when rating CER's on a scale of 1-5 for being helpful at reinforcing the material, 90% rated them a 4 or 5.  You will always get those kids that rate you a 1 and say you are boring which is why you need to look for patterns and trends.  One year I actually had a lot of students say I should give more homework to help them practice and so I created short homework assignments that helped them practice using the information at home.

        Asking students for feedback builds a connection with your students that lets them know that you are in this together and that their opinion is important.  It lets them know that they count.  You should give it a try and see what amazing, eye opening things you can learn about yourself and your teaching from the people that really count, your students.  If you want a copy of a Google Form that I use that you can modify for your own use than click the link below.  I would love to hear how it works for you in the comment section below.

Google Form Teacher Feedback Survey: Ready to Personalize

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