I just hit “Send” and for a moment my hand hovered over the “undo” button. Perhaps I didn’t need to ask these questions, perhaps this year I would skip the annual end of year parent survey. I don’t know why after 7 years of teaching, asking for feedback is still so excruciatingly tough. Not from the kids, that I ask for every single day, but from the adults, the parents/guardians, the ones at home that see the effects of the teaching I do every single day.
For a few weeks I have wondered if I even wanted to send it this year. If anything good would come from it, or if my self-esteem could handle it? This was my first year teaching 7th grade and in so many ways I have felt like a brand new teacher with all of the flaws, the mishaps, the bad teaching that comes along with the first year title. So now as the end of the year is in sight, I was compelled to just forget all about the feedback, pretend I don’t want to know, pretend to not care.
But that’s not the truth. Because I do care. Sometimes probably too much. I know that I have screwed up. I know that I could have been better at reaching every kid and teaching them what they needed. I know I have failed some times, and I know some of my feedback will say that. Some will probably crack my facade and make me feel pretty terrible.
And yet, if I don’t ask, I can’t grow.
So I let it go, and I now I wait, hoping for the best. I hope there are some that will see how hard I tried to reach every kid. I hope there are some that will see the thought, effort, and diligence that went into this year. But I also hope there are some that will take a moment to give me advice, to tell me how I can grow. Because I know I need to, and that is the bottom-line. This is not about me, it is about the students. And while I may have an idea of what I need to work on (and boy, do I ever), there is nothing like the perspective of a parent/guardian to show you things you never even thought of. If we truly mean that we are in this for the kids, then we have to include those at home. We have to ask the tough questions, even if the answers may sting.
If you would like to see my parent survey this year, here you are. Student surveys will be done in class next week.
I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA but originally from Denmark, who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade. 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. The second edition of my first book “Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students” is available for pre-order now. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Join ourPassionate Learners community on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.