The Power of Feedback


My new role has been challenging, exciting and full of professional learning. The more I learn the less I know. My mother always told me that I would soon find out that the older I got the more I’d need to learn something new. Wise woman.

I’ve learned to work with a colleague in a give and take situation. Our strengths are different and therefore we are very complimentary (both task wise and verbally!) to each other. We both know when to step up and when to step back. So far I have not managed to break any of her toes!

The challenge of providing professional learning to teachers in schools at multiple grade levels – Elementary, Middle and High – has begun to teach us the skill of differentiating on the fly. Educators are so very busy. When we arrive for training during their planning period or lunch, they don’t let us know that what we are offering isn’t suited to them. They haven’t learned to speak up when we’re there. But some of them definitely speak up in the follow-up survey.

I’ve previously posted about some negative feedback we received, but that was the catalyst for really analyzing what we do and how we do it. The option to get down deeper into what an educator or principal really needs can also be informative for the person leaving the comments. While some might lash out in displeasure, others leave some of the following:

” I understand that when in a training, you have people at all different learning levels but I felt that our training started in the middle and there was so much that could have been introduced, shown to us, etc, to then get us to the middle. I left feeling like I know nothing more that I did before. I did love the convenience of you coming to us instead of us having to take time off to go to a training elsewhere.” However, this same person said the most important takeaway from this session was “I still have a lot to learn”.

So how do we address this in the span of 35 minutes? It has opened our eyes to thinking outside of what typical professional learning looks like. This has started us thinking about choice and voice for our teachers. How do they choose? How do we make that work if they choose 10 different things on the same day? Where do we draw the line? How can we group our tools and offerings so that everyone gets something?

Working with professional educators at all levels makes every day different. We try not to take shortcuts, but give all of our energy every day to provide our best.

Am I still learning? You bet. Sometimes falling short of the mark? You bet. Feeling like I have the best job on the planet for me? You bet. Grateful for those I work with and for? You bet.

I’m so grateful for the feedback that helps me grow, learn and strive to make what I do better each time. I’m not there yet, but maybe I never will be. If I stop learning, then I stop growing.

Bring on the feedback!

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