Student Surveys Help You Grow
One of the most beneficial things you can do as a teacher at the end of the year is to allow your students to take a survey of your class. Teachers have a unique benefit with their careers, because at the end of the year they have the privilege to be able to reflect back and determine what worked well and what didn’t. Unlike a lot of careers, teachers are fortunate to be able to get a ‘do over’ every single year.
I will admit it’s scary to open yourself up to criticism from a bunch of 13-year-olds. However, you are going to learn a lot about yourself by doing so. Your perceived strengths will either be solidified or make you want to run into the closet and hide. Like it or not, the only way to improve your teaching is to ask for help.
How to Create a Student Survey
During the last couple of weeks of each semester I would allow about 15-20 minutes for students to fill out a survey about my class. I would use a simple Google Form to handle the survey responses. Something like Survey Monkey, or even a piece of paper the students have to fill out, would also work. I’ve created a tutorial on how to use Google Forms in the YouTube video below.
My survey starts out with some standard questions about my class which the students will answer using a scale score. It’s called “grid” in Google Forms. These questions get them warmed up prior to the more detailed questions that will follow.
I then like to offer up a huge list of activities we did that semester and allow them to tell me which ones were their favorites. Include all of the activities and not just the ones you thought were good. Including an “Other” option will allow kids to put activities which you may not have thought about. To extend this even further you the next question could ask which three were the least favorite. This question would allow you to improve the activities next year.
These last couple of questions will provide you SO much insight into your classroom. I would take an extra minute or two to explain that you want the students to be as detailed as possible on these questions. You may have some students who say there are no weaknesses, but challenge them to think a bit harder about the question.
Now It’s Time To Reflect and Take Action
Once the answers have all been submitted I challenge you to really sit down and analyze the data. There will be a wealth of information given to you, and it’s your job to figure out how you can improve based upon the data. As silly as it sounds, this was one of my favorite activities to do as a teacher. I couldn’t wait to see what other students said about my class, and I actually loved reading the negative feedback more than the positive feedback. Real growth happens through reflection.
What other questions would you ask your students? Leave a response in the comments.