Thursday, 12 April 2012

Have you ever been evaluated by your students?

You grade students’ work every day. You tell them they shouldn’t worry because it’s OK to make mistakes and you reassure them that being tested helps everybody learn what to do to improve. But then, when it’s time for others to judge what YOU- the teacher- are doing, you become uneasy. I agree fear may be a common reaction if a head teacher or administrator is planning to observe your classes but why should we feel scared of students’ opinions? The truth is they are the only people who know what we do every day, how we do it and what needs to be enhanced! If you are still not sure why students’ feedback is so important, have a look at this article: “He Said What? 5 Reasons You Want Your Students to Evaluate YOU

What about me? Have I ever been evaluated by my students? Oh, yes, plenty of times!! Until last year what I used to do was very simple. The last day of the school year I would ask my students to answer 3 or 4 questions about the material we had used, the topics we had studied and my performance. I used to tell them the answers should be anonymous so that they could be 100% sincere. Normally questions were something like this:

  • What do you think of the coursebook? 
  • What topics were difficult? Which ones were easy? Why? 
  • What do you think of my performance? (Write at least something you liked and something you didn’t like) 

This year I’m trying a different approach. In February I created  my google site and among many things I included a survey in which I ask students to evaluate me (and the site). As soon as eveything was ready I told the former students I am still in contact with to visit the site so that they could give me their opinions on it. I was expecting some visits but,to my surprise, many did much more than have look at it: they examined everything, found the survey, took it and answered all of the questions in detail! I got plenty of constructive feedback in a couple of days! Now, I’m planning to encourage all of my students to fill in the form after each term and  immediately apply in the classroom the insights that I gain !

Would you like to include a teacher evaluation questionnaire as part of your routine? Have you ever done it? How has it helped you?

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