This post is a report of the results from our site’s first (of hopefully many) teacher surveys. The discussion amongst the writers at ASK Reviews felt, overwhelmingly, that it is important for a school to survey their faculty (on an annual basis, at minimum). This practice has fallen out of favor at ASK in the last few years, with several people even proposing surveys in order to gauge stakeholder satisfaction only to be denied permission to do so.
Several Middle States accreditation standards emphasize the importance of seeking and obtaining authentic feedback from all community stakeholders. Because we see that the school administration will not fulfill their accreditation standards, we are stepping in. We will be running a series of polls over the next few weeks. Results will be summarized as quickly as possible and made available publicly on this website.
We would like to grant explicit permission to faculty and administration of ASK to use results of our surveys in any accreditation-related documents at the school.
The Security Question
The security question was: “Using today’s date as a reference, how many falcons have landed?” 55% of respondents answered correctly. 34% of respondents answered in a way that leads us to believe they are faculty members of ASK who are slightly confused about how this security question works. (Professional notice – read your emergency handbooks – they are important to child safety. Don’t get it wrong like Becky.) The remaining responses gave us little information on whether the writer was an actual faculty member. Some respondents were excluded from the data below due to their response to this question.
Please feel free to contact us with suggestions for future security questions. We thoroughly enjoyed some of the responses here.
Respondents were almost evenly distributed amongst elementary, middle, and high school faculty. Overall, over half of respondents have had 0 visits from their principal this year, and close to a third of respondents have had only 1 visit. Around 10% of respondents have had two visits. None reported more than two visits.
Results regarding assistant principals were similar: About 2/3 of respondents have had zero visits and 1/3 of respondents have had 1 visit. None reported more than 1 visit from any combination of assistant principals.
All respondents reported that the school Superintendent has visited their classroom 0 times this year.
For a general breakdown by school, we can say that it seems Elementary Assistant Principals visit more frequently than any other level. Faculty in the middle and high school have similar experiences; reporting either 0 or 1 visits from any administrators whatsoever.
The writers here at ASK Reviews had a lengthy discussion as results came in (most took place before the very last response came in, but we were all able to see the vast majority of responses before talking) – and we all came to an overwhelming consensus: Over the past 5-6 years at ASK, the number of observations have declined. Members of ASK Reviews from all three levels (elementary, middle, and high) agree that prior administrators did a better job of visiting classrooms and also of providing meaningful feedback and opportunity for discussion after visits.
We feel that observation is important. Feedback and discussion after observation is even more important. We urge administrators at ASK to schedule regular and frequent observation times so that all faculty are visited multiple times each year. Even with positive observations, feedback is important, even if it is only informal. Teachers in their 1st, 4th, or 7th (there aren’t any teaching faculty in their 10th or higher year) should receive a formal observation per ASK policy (although there are reports this doesn’t always happen) – but all teachers should receive feedback every year, even if only informally.
The survey allowed for an open response question at the end. Below are those responses. Any edits have been noted.
- We have “walk throughs” that last a minute, and so I did not count that as observations. I asked for a formal observation this year and I was told only first and 4th year teachers are allowed to get formal observations. This is my third year and I have not had a formal observation since my first year.
- I HATE THIS SCHOOL! I WISH THEY WOULD FIRE ME! (This comment came from a submission for which we cannot guarantee the authenticity. If the writer of this comment can contact us and show that they are faculty, we will update this article)
- There have also been 0 safe haven drills this year – which have to be required by either NESA, MSA, or the embassy – only 1 stay-in-place drill, and 2 fire drills. Safety. Hazard. Again, a poor day for air quality when there are visible gaps to the outside between doors and frames. Still no virtual day. Been working on that one for 3+ years. Haven’t had any invitations to SOAP committee meetings all year. Are they even still happening? Aren’t we required to report results for accreditation?
- Nancy sucks. Maybe that is a little too direct to be fair. Change that to “unsupportive of school activities.”
- I have too much work and no time to answer.
- My 2 back to back observations were a result of “student complaint”…if not for that, there would’ve not been an observation. There was no feedback or debriefing meeting after the “observation”
- I’ve had walk throughs with feedback 3 times this year. Unrelated to feedback, which is a huge problem here [comment about past experience deleted due to identifiable information], it would be nice to see some of the good things about Kuwait and ASK on this page as well. Things are absolutely tough now, especially with the firing of [elementary teacher that was fired this week – name redacted]. That’s just fucked up.
- The apartments really aren’t as awful as your post makes them out to be. They’re spacious and furnished! The last time I had a two bedroom apartment from a school, I was forced to share with another teacher. Life is really what you make of it. I really love my life here in Kuwait, and in lots of ways ASK has made it better. I’d like to be one of the teachers that has a positive impact on change at this school. I’ve been in Kuwait [time removed because of identifiable information – suffice it so say they’ve been in Kuwait for a while]. I don’t plan to leave.
After discussion, some of the writers at ASK Reviews would like to issue responses to parts of some of the comments. Below is a list of different members’ thoughts:
- Observations that last a minute are not observations – stepping in for such a short time is an obvious method to check a box on a check list and has no meaningful value, whatsoever. Be better.
- Are SOAP Committee meetings still happening? Contact us to tell us more. We currently have evidence that both data and minutes of multiple SOAP committees were forged, after-the-fact, in order to make it look like meetings took place and data was gathered, even when these events did not occur. However, we do not have enough to write a full post or corroborate all of our information.
- Drills are important. If all the requisite drills haven’t happened, you should bring this up with administration. If administration doesn’t adequately address the topic, it would be appropriate to file a formal notice with Middle States.
- We all have a lot of work – thank you so much for everything you do and also finding the time to respond to this survey. You are all heroes.
- Student complaints are the en-vogue way to be fired this year, apparently.
- The last comments instigated a large discussion amongst members of ASK Reviews, so below are some of the opinions from different people:
- There are positive aspects of Kuwait, we will try to do a better job of reporting them.
- We feel like most of the articles have been edited and proofread and re-edited so that they are balanced and show multiple sides – but we will try to do better in the future.
- We thought the particular post about the housing did mention the spaciousness of the apartments and the community in a positive way – we are going to revisit our earlier discussions about thiw article. If we decide more should be said, we will either amend the article or post a new one (those two options are still being debated).
- We hope everybody who reads this blog has a positive impact at ASK. The purpose of this blog is to encourage and motivate ASK to improve. We are writing this blog because the school serves children. Children deserve our help. Children deserve the best efforts of adults. We want ASK to be better because the children at the school deserve it.
We intend to post a new survey on Sunday next week. Responses will be due by Wednesday. We will post more details soon.