The Word Pause Formed By Wooden Blocks And Arranged By Male Fingers On A White Table

PAUSE and ask three questions for an end of school year check-in!

Pause leaders and teachers

by Sue Walsh

05 November 2021

Too often we find ourselves caught up in the pressure of finishing off a school year and planning for the next at the same time. The urgency to finish off and be ready for the beginning of the next school year is a very real experience for teachers, leaders, and parents.
In that frantic flurry of the last term of the school year, it is important to take the time to pause and ask these 3 questions of the students, parents and colleague teachers and leaders?
  1. What worked well this year? (affirmation).
  2. What should I/we think about doing differently? (evaluating)
  3. Is there something I/we should be thinking about implementing/introducing in the next school year? (strategizing)
Pausing to ask these questions of the stakeholders gives insights into the school year that is finishing and possible considerations for the next year. If we don’t take the time to ask, we haven’t heard the voices of our stakeholders. Frequently as teachers and leaders we act on a hunch, intuition, experience, data etc and overlook the simple task of checking-in, with those we work and learn within our schools.
So, before you hurtle towards the end of this school year, take a PAUSE, and ask these three or similar questions of your school, grade, class. The responses to these questions will be critical in planning, teaching, and learning for the next school year. Asking these three questions will provide great data for planning forward and insights of the past year. 
To ensure a good return of responses to questions, implement a process that is simple and efficient for gathering responses eg:10 minutes before the end of a meeting or lesson, invite teachers, students, parents, leaders to write on three separate Post It’s, a single response to each of the questions and place each Post It under each question on the chart paper. Also consider collecting responses electronically. Whatever process you choose to use, keep it simple! 
When asking parents, teachers, students, colleague leaders, it is good practise to provide questions to the stakeholders pre the meeting or lesson, this allows stakeholders, Think Time. Important to this process are stakeholders knowing the purpose of the questions and how the responses will be used and fed back. 
 Principals, leaders, teachers will have a wealth of insights/data after asking these three questions of stakeholders. More importantly teachers, students, parents, colleague leaders will feel valued having their voices heard.
Don’t let the opportunity to seek feedback, get lost in the “busyness” of the last term of the school year. Prioritize taking a PAUSE, ask the three questions, collate the responses, and use the responses for planning forward. This simple process makes a difference, listening to and acknowledging the insights of teachers, students, parents, and colleague leaders. 
Whatever role you have in your school, remember your stakeholders ... your school staff, your class, your grade, your colleague leaders, your parent community, your class parent community, your network....they are waiting to be asked! Take a Pause.

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