Considering my age, I went to teachers’ college relatively recently. While there, I was well exposed to backwards planning (Understanding by Design was required reading), the use of assessment as a tool “of, for, and as” learning, and the principles and practices of constructivism. Thinking back, I don’t recall us actively discussing student voice or student choice, but these notions were probably very close to being active educational program topics. Perhaps these terms just hadn’t been coined…yet.

Today, Julie Daniels Davis asked her Twitter PLN, “Anyone willing share Qs u ask of Ss for feedback of class experience? How many Qs? .” I have used Survey Monkey in this capacity since I started working as a teacher back in August 2007, and so I logged in to see if I could offer any of my examples. I solicited a lot of feedback from students in my first year, not regularly throughout the year, but as one giant digital survey at the end of each term (semester course). I used the school’s domains (from The Framework, Danielson Group) and made extensive survey grids to find out exactly what the students thought of my every move. I can’t help but think I was either very brave or very naive back then. Senior students often tell their teacher what they think even if this question is not asked!

For the 2014-15 school year I changed the survey considerably, sticking with the “start, stop, continue” method of soliciting actionable feedback. This year I have been asking the students what they think far more frequently, with less use of digital surveys to do so. Recently, we have been using a class hashtag on Twitter, and I sometimes ask for feedback in the Q/A format on Twitter. It’s interesting to look back and see how I have changed and grown as an educator, but what I have retained along the way. Even with my most difficult generation, when it would have been so tempting not to ask at all, I still asked for teacher feedback. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.