Just suppose every two months every teacher in a school sends home to students’ parents a survey (in secondary schools separate subjects sent different days of a one week period) which asks:
How much do you feel (the teacher’s name) cares about your child? 1 -10
2. How well does (the teacher’s name) communicate with parents? 1- 10
3. How good a job do you feel (the teacher’s name) is doing? 1- 10
4. How fair and appropriate is homework for this class? 1- 10
At first the returned surveys would serve as “FYI” documents for just the teacher.
This provides the opportunity for the teacher to contact parents who return less than stellar evaluations. The idea would be to seek out solutions to parents’ concerns.
No one can please everyone all of the time. But if a teacher receives numerous low evaluations from numbers of parents, this provides insight into negative trends or patterns which need attention and which the teacher can correct.
As a school district becomes familiar and comfortable with such a regular survey, the following year current survey information could also be forwarded to the school administration.
What if in a similar vein such a survey was given to each student? At first certainly some would attempt to abuse it. But again, over time, as students become more familiar and comfortable with the survey, they begin to view it as an opportunity to communicate in a positive way with their teacher.
Also, such a survey offers the teacher insight into changes in a particular student’s life which may be affecting school performance. The sooner the teacher is aware of such changes, the better the chances of finding ways of addressing the student’s needs.
Surveys such as these would mean that students who need help or attention would be recognized earlier. Parents who are unhappy with a teacher’s performance would have their concerns acknowledged early in the school year.
No one must wait until the end of the semester or the school year to discover how much progress is being made.
Better yet, as a teacher myself, I would not have to wait, holding my breath, to see if any parents complain to the principal. I would have the chance to deal with minor issues before they become major.
What if schools used surveys such as these regularly? What could possibly be wrong with this?
Do let me know.