Monday, March 29, 2021

Day 29 #SOL21 Contemplating Listening Tours


This has been a school year like no other, so when my literacy team and I hatched a plan to elicit authentic feedback from the dedicated teachers we serve, it took a whole lot of brainstorming and planning to come up with an idea we believed could work. The notion of a "listening tour" appealed to me from the beginning because I think so many educators have felt invisible this year. My initial thinking focused on visiting teachers classrooms and sitting side-by-side to hear their proudest celebrations and deepest concerns. However, this 100% qualitative method made measuring the success of our project a bit tricky. So after my boss, my colleagues, and I hashed through multiple scenarios, we landed on a compromise. We'd offer teachers two options: submit responses to an anonymous open-ended questionnaire or schedule a listening tour appointment with your feeder pattern literacy coach

After lots of forethought and meticulous design work, we launched the listening tour today. Our district coordinator filmed a short video message in which we shared that our goal was get a minimum of 80% participation rate. By 8:00 p.m. on Monday, here's where we stand—10% of our teachers have filled out the questionnaire and about 1% of those folks wanted face-to-face appointments. Not bad, if you ask me. 

As we look towards next August, we want to make sure we don't waste the lessons this unbelievably disruptive year has taught us. The practitioners in the classroom know what kids need, and as difficult as some of the feedback is to swallow, I'm deeply appreciative folks are speaking their truth. The listening tour questionnaire will remain open for about 12 more days, and we will complete scheduled in-person discussions throughout the first week of May. I look forward to hearing all about the beautiful moments and the hard moments. Our team is definitely going to have our work cut out of us as we address the needs of our teachers, but together, we can all move mountains. Kids deserve it. 


  1. I always learn so much when I stumble upon your posts. I always appreciate the thoughtful work you do with your teachers. I hope the listening tour is a success.

  2. A listening tour sounds so spot on for what we all need right now. I love this idea. As always, you’re a deeply thoughtful coach and teacher leader. Xox

  3. So important we take the time to reflect and think about how we move forward. Not only is it good practice, it is important modeling for our kids. Love the idea of a listening tour.