When I was a classroom teacher in Boston, I had an administrator who gave quick and consistent feedback with every educator’s best friend: the Post-it note. While making her rounds through the building, she would stop at every classroom and take notes. Later, we’d find these Post-its on our desks or in our mailboxes with feedback on what she saw.
Her feedback always contained two critical components: something positive followed by a question. For example, “I have never seen Michael that engaged in the classroom. Wow! I am wondering if you can share more about how you decided to create that type of project considering the needs of all the students in the classroom.”
Not only did her approach build a positive climate, it created a culture that encouraged learning and sharing from one another, deepening practice across the entire school. As a young teacher, I valued the quick insights into how I was performing well before my review.
Instructional leaders place a lot of emphasis on teachers giving students rapid feedback, but we don’t do this nearly enough with our team. This is a missed opportunity to practice what we preach while building a positive schoolwide culture and supporting professional growth.
Here, I outline six ways instructional leaders can give teachers feedback outside of the traditional performance review.
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A former special education and English teacher, school administrator, and district leader for Boston Public Schools, Kavita is an expert on teacher training, Universal Design for Learning, and bilingual language learners. In addition to her work at ThinkCERCA, Kavita is a Cadre member at the Center for Applied Special Technology, where she teaches courses on UDL and provides training to districts and universities across the U.S.