Do you want to know what your students think?

The most valuable thing I do each year is to have my kids fill out an evaluation on me (actually 1st at the mid-point, and once at the end of the year).  The results have been amazing.  In order for it to be most effective your kids have to trust that you will listen to them.  I feel like repeating that sentence again but I won’t.  I reflected on my evaluation for last year on one of my crazy podcasts last year(the one in which I almost get hit by the dumptruck). It includes the evolution of my evaluation and how it is introduced, collected, etc.  I have included it below, the formatting will be screwed up but you can get the gist of what I ask.  Next to each question is a box for them to check off.  The choices are Excellent, Very Good, Good, Average, Fair, Miserable.  There is a link at the bottom to the actual form.


Name(optional – you might want to wait until the end to decide : ))______


In one word describe the teacher______________________________

In one word describe the class________________________________



1  Teacher created an environment that was positive

2  Teacher created an environment safe for risk taking

3  Teacher created an environment that allowed for personal initiative

4  Teacher created an environment that allowed success for all students

5  Teacher created an environment that led to meaningful discussion

6  Teacher created an environment for independent student growth

7  Teacher created an environment with appropriate structure

8  Teacher created an environment that motivated me

9  Teacher gave students the attention they needed

10 Teacher’s ability to respect individual student needs

11 Teacher’s ability to respond to student’s questions

12 Teacher’s knowledge of the subject

13 Teacher’s enthusiasm

14 Teacher’s preparation for class

15 Teacher’s relationship with class

16 Teacher appeared honestly interested in helping students

17 Teacher’s ability to listen

18 Teacher’s ability to keep class interesting

19 Teacher graded assignments fairly

Below, PLEASE write down any comments you have concerning the above statements.  Especially any comment below average.

Use the space on the back of this paper to freely express your feelings about the course and teacher.  Please be as detailed and specific as you would like but do limit your words to what is truthful, respectful, and most of all useful to future students.  Minimum number of words is thirty-five, maximum is 1000.  You can write freely, or use the above chart as a guide.  This is the most valuable part of the evaluation and I cannot stress enough how carefully your words will be read and listened to! This is your chance to make a change for future students.  All I ask is that you be honest.



  1. This is very familiar to college level educators. It’s called a teacher evaluation, and they are required for every course that is taught.

    I have also followed your technique and offered extra mid-semester surveys that help me to make adjustments to the course as necessary.

    Of course there is always http://RateMyProfessor.com. Anonymous comments often contain sour grapes, but sometimes good feedback is offered here too.

    For a good laugh, check out Professors Strike Back: http://professorsstrikeback.mtvu.com/. There, the profs respond to comments left on Rate My Professor.

    I think it is good to get feedback from our students. However, I do not think that many students are fully qualified to assess our teaching methods. For example, I tend to value the honest criticism of industrious students over that of lazy students looking for the easy path. I think student feedback should be only part of the overall picture of our teaching.

    I also think that administrator evaluations should play a role in assessing our teaching, but only if they have bothered to visit our classes and have a clue about what we do.

    I am working with colleagues on establishing a peer review of teaching process at my school. This might be difficult to implement in K-12 grade levels since it involves observing colleagues teaching in the classroom. But it is really helpful to both parties if you can have an frank and honest discussion with each other about what works and what does not.

    Paul, I think it’s great that you get feedback from your students and try to improve your work based on their comments.

  2. Paul,
    This is too coincidental an evening!
    As an instructor of adults in continuing education, I’ve had the opportunity to receive feedback/criticism from an organized system… at other levels, I’ve been open to a ‘disorganized’ system.

    During report card season, I regularly supplied my tween and teen students with the opportunity to evaluate my effectiveness as a teacher. I have saved a number of finely detailed ‘report cards’ that were created by students who came to realize that their feedback mattered.

    When they wrote: “Needs to practice drawing skills on the blackboard”… I practiced and improved. Though drawing-disabled, I learned to draw a few simple, repeatable characters.

    When they wrote: “Is an awesome reader of stories.”… It affirmed for me the importance of reading stories to learners of all ages.

    When they wrote: “Is conshenshis to confrense with us.”(sic)… I learned to regard my students as colleagues in learning.

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