No Teacher Left Unscathed

I just received a very disturbing letter from my place of employment, an elementary school where I teach.  I have paraphrased it below:

Dear Ms. Stinglash,


Enclosed are the results of a survey of students grades 3-6 who were asked to rate their classes and teachers.  If you received a low score, we ask to you please consider discussing the results with the students to determine what you can do to become more popular in their eyes.  This survey will in no way influence your evaluation, which will be done by grown-ups, but we think that it provides some valuable information for you to use to enhance your teaching.


Your average score:  1.5




Ms. Simons



1.5?  This seems bad.  In fact, it seems very, very bad.  Of course, they didn’t tell me what the maximum score could be.  I might have scored a 1.5 out of 2.  That isn’t so bad.  In fact it could be very good.  Especially if the survey read like this:


How much do you love Ms. Stinglash?


1-    Very much

2-    More than my own parents


A score of 1.5 would mean that the children were pretty evenly split between loving me very much and loving me more than they love their own parents.  In that case, I have done very well indeed.


Only, I have never heard of a survey where the maximum score is only a 2. It seems rather unlikely.  I suspect that the maximum score is at least a 3.  As in:


How much do you think Ms. Stinglash’s class sucks?


1-    It sucks big time

2-    It’s okay

3-    It is a wonderful class, engaging, inspiring and surprising.  I never knew learning could be so blissful.


Great.  I am somewhere between sucking and being okay.  This is not good. What if the maximum is even more than a 3?  Horrors!  It appears that they detest my class!!  And who knew?  I thought they loved it.  They come in all smiles, eager to get started.  They participate enthusiastically.  They try hard in class.  We laugh together.  They really seem to like the class and to like me as well.  In fact, the children call out my name when they see me in the hallway and run over to hug me.  I just don’t get it.


I had to find out just how badly I had scored.  A bit of investigation revealed that the maximum score is a 4.  The only explanation for my dreadfully low marks is that I have been stabbed in the back.  Behind their cherub like faces, twinkling eyes and easy smiles lurk hearts of stone.  Either that or the questionnaire was flawed.  After all I only received a numeric score.   I did not receive a copy of the questions.  Who knows what they were asked.   Perhaps it was something like this:


Do you agree with the following statement?  “Ms. Stinglash has squids for hands.”


1. No

2. Not sure

3. Maybe

4. Yes


A 1.5 in this case would not be so bad really.  It would reflect that most of the children recognize that I have hands of a regular sort.  I say "most" of the children.  Some appear to be unsure about this point.  These children are not that smart.  This is not my problem.


The thing is, other teachers have told me their scores in the strictest of confidence so I cannot repeat them here, scores that they also found surprising and not just a wee bit devastating.  All the scores were substantially higher than mine. The only explanation for this would be that the students hate my guts with a passion usually reserved for superintendents who can’t see their way to canceling school during a record breaking snowfall.   I suspect that if the school employed a teacher who regularly feeds her class unsalted popcorn while she reads aloud from the Handbook of Autopsy Practice and shows them pictures of dead clubbed baby seals, she would score higher than I did. 


I truly did not see this coming.  I had no idea that the children were even going to be surveyed.  What if people from other aspects of my life are also being surveyed?  I could be blindsided once again.


Dear Sandra Stinglash,


Enclosed are the results of a satisfaction survey.  This particular survey was given to a select group of people, namely individuals who have come directly from your womb.  This demographic was asked to rate you according to how happy they are with your performance. We feel that this numeric score will provide you with valuable information, and we urge you to take the results to heart.  If you received a low score, we ask to you please consider discussing the results with the people or person surveyed in order to determine how to improve future ratings.  


Your score: 1.5




Ms. Simons




I have decided to take matters into my own hands.  I have designed a simple survey, which I will give to the people in my life, all of them: family members, friends, and acquaintances alike.  It will have one question, so that it won’t take up too much of their valuable time.  The participants will be assured of their anonymity, as I will promise to close my eyes when they hand their surveys back to me.  It will read:


I thank you in advance for taking the time to fill out the following questionnaire which will give me valuable feedback that I can use in order to better myself as a person.  Rest assured that your anonymity will be guaranteed, so please answer as honestly as possible.


How satisfied are you with Sandra Stinglash’s performance as a(n) _________________________?  (The beauty of this format is that by filling in the blank, I can customize the question to fit any person being surveyed.  Example: mother, daughter, acquaintance, friend, total stranger, etc.)


1-    Not at all satisfied

2-    Somewhat satisfied

3-    Mostly satisfied

4-    Satisfied


I must remember to be very careful to fill in the blank as accurately as possible so as to avoid invalidating the results.  For instance, if I presented my father with a survey and instead of writing “daughter” in the blank, I made even a minor mistake, like “How satisfied are you with Sondra Stinglash’s performance as a world class botanist?” the results could be disastrous.  I might even score a 1.5.

2 Response to "No Teacher Left Unscathed"

  • Says:

    Dear Ms. Stinglash,

    I read with interest the report on your survey results. I think perhaps the correct response to such a result is "We're Number One! (And a half.)"


  • Says:

    How satisfied are you with Sandra Stinglash’s performance as a(n) actor?

    1= on a par with Charo
    2= on a par with Paris Hilton
    3= on a par with Ronald Reagan
    4= on a par with Roy Rogers
    5= on a par with Mortimer Snerd

    Dude... you are so way beyond Paris Hilton & Ronald Reagan! And you look way better too. (We won't even discuss Charo... ay ay ay ay ay!) Although your equestrian skills leave something to be desired, you have mad skills when it comes to impersonations. I would vote you right up there beyond Snerd. Nobody puts words in your mouth!

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