I got the following e-mail this week from a student I had taught a few years ago. It was a positive boost, don't get me wrong - great when someone acknowledges you for a role you have played in their achievement.
However, I was struck more by the power in my feedback to this student. I'll start with the e-mail:
I just wanted to let you know that I have finished the program and am now a BSN certified nurse!! Thank you so much for your guidance, wisdom, and example as a nurse, teacher and person of excellence.
God really used you in my life to overcome and get through a valley I had been in for a long time. It was the tool of journaling that has really rekindled my passion for God and my life.
So thank you so much. I wish you well in all that you do and hope that we will meet again.
I also covet your prayers as the job of nurse manager is open again on my unit.
Will she or will she not...we soon will know.
Thanks again, and God bless you real good!! You are a mighty woman!
When I met "Sally", she was engaging and totally committed to her education - a joy to have in the classroom. With gorgeous steel gray hair, I judged Sally to be in her early sixties. Her peers wanted to be in her group, as she was a natural leader. Yet, I noted an insecurity around Sally's written work. In fact, she apologized as she turned in her first paper.
I emphasize that every instructor is different and I start with a clean slate. Reading Sally's work was indeed a breath of fresh air - creative, passionate and totally heart-centered from her years of experience as a nurse.
This is the feedback I gave Sally - I told her that her writing touched my heart and that she should think of publishing after graduation.
Sally absorbed my initial feedback and thrived. Her journal reflections were profoundly inspiring. Her written assignments were professional, in a captivating and well-developed style.
I received a two- paged typed thank you attached to her final paper explaining her initial apology. Sally had loved to write as a young girl, everything from poetry to prose. She enrolled in a summer camp as a teenager, when a counselor gave her cruel feedback - essentially, ''you need to put down your pen and never pick it up again.''
She was understandably devastated and did just that - writing assignments and never feeling good enough - until my feedback over 40 years later.
Working with and knowing Sally is a privilege. To have had a role in helping her recognize her natural gifts and strengths gives meaning and purpose to my 'work'. This incredible woman reminds me how important it is to continue giving honest, constructive feedback in my role - that it indeed matters.
Do you have the power and privilege to give honest and sincere feedback? I look for opportunities with those I encounter in the service business - even better if I can locate their manager to give feedback on performance that is really exceptional. And yes, I complete written surveys every chance I have and thoroughly appreciate my student evaluations as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
If this is outside your comfort zone, give it a whirl. You may find it quite satisfying.
You may also find these posts in the Weeblyhood of interest:
Until next week, wishing you peace, mar
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