I went 4 years without asking those who matter most what they thought of my teaching. I went 4 years without asking the tough questions, 4 years without opening up a final line of communication, 4 years afraid of what I might hear. 2 years ago I finally created the end of year parent and student survey, I remember it well. I made it, took a deep breath, and then hit send. I didn’t know what I would hear, what parents would tell me, but I knew I needed to ask. The students were just as hard, the kids we teach are so good at telling us what they think we want to hear. They are so good at not hurting our feelings, yet to grow as a teacher and person I had to get their honest opinion. So I started asking them as well.
Now, even though this is my 3rd year asking, I am still afraid. I work so hard all year trying to make the year the very best year for a child, yet I know I am human. I know I mess up. I know that I still have room to grow and things to work on. And so, I continue to hit publish on my end of year survey. I continue to send it out to parents and ask them to please help me grow. I continue to read their answers, take them to heart and learn from them. Even the tough answers, even the ones where I wish I had known earlier, where I wish I could change the past. I read those too. And the students with all of their feelings, their opinions, their advice; I read it, I reflect on it, and in the end I grow. Even if it hurts, even if it reminds me that I am not perfect.
Do you ask for their opinion at the end of the year? Do you make sure that those we make the biggest difference to have a way to help you grow? Don’t be afraid, take the leap, and open up the discussion.
I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students Starting Today” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.