How to Share Hard Family Feedback

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We often hear that “Feedback Is a Gift”– but in reality, it can be challenging to share feedback with anyone. It can be especially difficult to share hard family feedback with a hard-working teacher when you know they might get upset and may see the situation differently.  

Cate Reed, seasoned administrator, current Senior Vice President of Teach For America, and Possip Reporter, walks through ways to effectively use feedback shared by families.

There are things you can do to take the sting out of tough feedback while also helping your staff embrace it as a way to get better over time

Create a Feedback-Friendly Culture

Make sure your staff knows that you collect feedback, through Possip, or by other means, and that you take it seriously.  This ensures that when you talk with them about hard family feedback, it doesn’t come out of left field.  Additionally, model how you receive feedback. Tell people when you have received tough feedback and what you have done about it, and name how it made you feel in the moment. Also, remember that feedback isn’t always critical.  Be sure that you are illuminating positive feedback as well. If you are consistently sharing both the good and the constructive, it doesn’t feel like a “gotcha” moment when challenging situations come up.

Time and Place Matter When Sharing Hard Family Feedback

Request a meeting with the teacher to discuss the hard family feedback you have received. Choose a quiet and private setting where you can have a focused conversation without interruptions, and don’t hide the ball. Telling someone in advance that you received feedback you want to share means people can have a moment to prepare themselves. If they ask if you can share in advance, consider that request (here are some tips to craft an email sharing negative feedback). Some people best handle feedback conversations when they have had a moment to think in advance.