Brave or Stupid?

Sometimes, in the quest for feedback we take action that can brave or stupid depending on the outcome.

Last week I created an anonymous survey that went to the entire staff.  It only had a few questions and allowed for complete anonynimity (except whether employees were administrators, teachers, secretaries, custodians, drivers, etc).  The survey also allowed for completely open ended responses.

I asked staff to provide feedback that I might grow from.  Areas for suggestions were in communication with staff and community, specific areas of strength, weakness, and areas in need of improvement.

Why would a Superintendent ask these questions of her staff?  The Superintendent evaluation is conducted by the Board of Education so what could this information possibly be used for?

There were two reasons I chose to ask the staff to provide feedback.

I read a blog about a teacher who invited student feedback from her classes.  It was remarkable and inspiring.  She asked students about content, projects, collaborating with classmates, assessments, and rapport with the teacher.  The student responses were amazing!  The teacher gained perspective, received valuable information, and grew through the process.  Who doesn’t seek growth so I thought, “Why not me?”

I wondered if I could do it…on a district level.

I also hoped to inspire the teachers in my district to do the same.  How can I expect them to ask for feedback from their students if I am afraid to ask it from them?

The second reason is what drives me every day.  It is the goal to improve my leadership so I may inspire teachers and educate students.  It is to persevere through challenging situations and find success from failure.  It is to strive for what is best in education even when it feels like the world is against me.

I am not sure what those survey results will reveal but I will read each comment, reflect, and apply the suggestions from a staff of educators I respect and honor. Brave or stupid?  Time will tell but I look forward with anticipation to becoming a better “me”.

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Author: karenwoodedu

Karen Wood is the Superintendent of Schools in Barnegat, NJ. With twenty-three years in education, Ms. Wood's career has been spent primarily in administration. She enjoys mentoring novice administrators and being connected to inspirational educators and leaders across the country.

4 thoughts on “Brave or Stupid?”

  1. This is outstanding. I wish more leaders were open to this approach. I think you are brave to do it, however I believe the greater reward will be to those who complete it. This can be a positive way for them to see you not only care, but also you are willing to work on you. That should be an inspiration! I commend you.

    Like

  2. Karen,

    I applaud your courage and your willingness to put yourself out there so you can grow as a professional. Asking for such open feedback is a great way to build trust within your school or your district. What a great example to your principals and teachers. Keep up the great work:)

    Jon

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think’s BRAVE and REFLECTIVE and a GREAT idea. You’ll need to prepare yourself for the negative comments, but I think that actively seeking ways to improve your own leadership is awesome! Hope you got a lot of positive feedback as well!!

    Liked by 1 person

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