I remember the terror of handing out my first end of the year survey to my students. I was thoroughly convinced that they would come back completely extolling all my virtues or completely destroying the last shred of dignity that I had as a young teacher in May. To my utter shock, I have uniformly had the opposite situation. Students have been incredibly honest and fair with me. Some things they love, some things they hate, some things just needed a little tweak. Since I have found student surveys so beneficial to honing my craft, today I want to share with you my simple survey along with the reasons why I suggest you give a similar one. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
Reasons to Give an End of the Year Survey:
- Learn what to edit out or change. We all have these grand plans that sometimes fizzle out. No matter how amazing the assignments, projects, or methods sounded in our head, the bottom-line must be student learning. I don't think that we have to make everything a carnival ride, but we should know if some assignments are doing more harm than good.
- Learn what necessities need to become more palatable. Every student on my survey can write about the challenge of the research paper or the unsatisfactory ending of The Great Gatsby, but that certainly does not mean I will edit them out of my class. What I can tweak based on student feedback, is the presentation and timeline of events. Again, it is all about student learning.
- Create continued equity. I want to know if students don't think I'm not fair or if I get positive reviews only from girls with As. Equity in education is paramount.
- Validate the good. I'm not going to lie. I love reading my glowing reviews. In my humble opinion, teaching is one of the hardest careers and it can really wear a person out. Sometimes we need confirmation of the good we suspect we are doing.
- Consider other perspectives. Of course students cannot dictate curriculum with their surveys because they come from a limited perspective. By the same token, we will be much more effective educators if we take the chance to walk a mile in our students' moccasins.
Tips for Proctoring the Survey:
- Make a list of the class readings and major assignments/procedures/methods and write them on the board during the survey so students can remember what has been covered and how.
- Consider using Google Forms so you can easily see the data and run some analytics. (More on Google Forms in the classroom here!)
Click here for the FREE DOWNLOAD of my simple survey that you can make your own! Feel free to leave questions, comments or concerns in the comment box below and check back every week for more teacher tutorials, tips, and tirades!