Parent feedback matters. Great parent feedback can make your day. Bad parent feedback can hurt. – your feelings, how other parents view you, and possibly your standing with your company.
What can you do when you get rated poorly by a parent?
- Carefully review the parent’s comments and the class itself. If you have access, watch the playback. Otherwise, check your notes. (If you aren’t keeping track of your class notes, you should be. Set up a spreadsheet or try the free trial of Feedback Panda. This is an affiliate link.)
- Sometimes a parent’s feedback feels unfair. Carefully examine your feelings. Are they simply hurt? Does the parent have a point? There’s a lot of value in reflecting on this.
- If the parent has a point, you have an opportunity to improve your teaching. Take what they said to heart, and do your best to be even better in your next classes. That will help you to…
- Bury that poor feedback. Nothing “invalidates” bad feedback like a pile of 5-stars or 5-apples from other parents.
- Sometimes, you will feel – perhaps strongly – the feedback was not warranted. If your company has a process to appeal bad parent feedback. I encourage you to pursue this… but first, make sure you are in total compliance with your company. Lots of teachers think that the companies should back the teachers. While I agree… it isn’t the teachers who are handing over their credit card numbers. It’s the parents. If the company is going to take a stand, they need to be able to present you without flaw. If you absolutely did not do whatever the parent claims… but, you were dressed sloppily, or yawning (yes, we’re all tired, but the parents aren’t paying to have a teacher who might give a student less than 100%). Be sure the company will be 100% confident that you are on the ball. VIPKID is notorious for refusing to invalidate poor parent feedback if the teacher was not in compliance in some unrelated way. it can be frustrating, but hey – it is what it is. Be sure you are the teacher they hired you to be, and then they can back you without reservation.
Sometimes, the key to good feedback from parents is sending well-composed class reports/feedback to them. I cannot recommend Ed Nace’s book Loud and Clear strongly enough. Ed lived in China for eight years. He makes excellent points in what information Chinese parents want to receive in their feedback and what they aren’t looking to read. I had good ratings before reading his book, but my feedback rate doubled almost immediately after implementing his ideas.
Bad parent feedback doesn’t happen to all of us… but it does happen to most of us. My own story: I’ve taught at three companies and I’ve only gotten a single bad feedback from a parent. It was bad – one apple, and they selected every negative tag they could. I looked up the class, both in my portal and in my notes… and immediately appealed it. The class had been an assessment, and the student was unprepared and late. I stayed far past the regular class time, but it was simply not possible to complete the tasks. As a result, the marks were poor.
Two things happened. The second was that the company (eventually) overturned the bad feedback. But before that happened… the parents of my regular students stepped up. They could see it, and they knew I was not the teacher described. I had an influx of reviews from parents of regulars – they were “burying” the bad feedback unsolicited.
If you are doing your part – giving you best, being professional, providing value to parents and students – the parents who book you know that and will honor it.
This website is written by me – Sandra Girouard.
I’ve been blessed with a long teaching career – first as a music teacher, then an instructional technology manager. When my family’s needs meant traveling and later moving around the country, I began the adventure of homeschooling and eventually working online. Teaching online has allowed me to return to passion my of working with children (besides my own), and lets me spend time each day with students and parents at home and across the world. I currently teach ESL for VIPKID and Gogokid, as well as teaching humanities classes through U.S. based online class portals.
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