3 – 2 – 1!

I have made the commitment to blog a thank you every day for 365 days. Today will be my 40th day. Some days the words just flow and the writing is done in less than half an hour. Other days I’m in a quandary, wanting badly to be sincere in my thanks and finding little inspiration. I understand that this is true for many a writer and not just for me who aspires to someday share these thank you’s beyond you faithful few who read them every day. And here I sit watching the clock, in that space where it’s almost bedtime and I still have not written today’s post. I have not run out of people to thank have I? Certainly not. I have a plan for some of the yet-to-mentioned folks and am not ready to share those words of gratitude just yet. So let’s give this one more try before I go to bed…

I teach at a local college, a couple of sessions a semester about program evaluation in the non-profit world. I was asked to do this a few years ago and have appreciated the fact that it’s a short-term commitment and not a 15 week course, with a nice little financial benefit. Teaching is something I enjoy doing, I’ve mentioned this before; this semester however, it was a bit different. I had to do three sessions rather than two. The class was the largest it has ever been at 35 students; and the majority of them were traditional aged students–most in their early twenties I’d guess, with a few non-traditional students sprinkled in for good measure. In all the other sessions to date the number of traditional to non-traditional was entirely reversed, in fact if there was even one traditional aged student I was surprised.

I tell you this because tonight was the last session for me this semester. I wondered if I’d accomplished truly imparting any wisdom on this group at all. They were kind of difficult to engage in conversation–I don’t know if it was the size of the group or it was just early in the semester. They’d certainly been in classes together before, or so they told me. As they were working on a group assignment tonight I looked at them and wondered is it because they are “millennials“, used to working in teams where everyone gets a trophy, using twitter and Facebook to communicate in bits and pieces–was I giving them too much information at one time? I wondered and needed to find out.

As with most college classes an evaluation of the course will be conducted but not until the very last session in December, and I can’t wait that long. Being the flexible and quick thinker that I am in cases like this, I knew I could do my own evaluation. Many years ago now, and I’m not even sure where or from who, I learned this technique: a 3 – 2 – 1 Evaluation. I asked the group to take out a piece of paper and asked the following: What 3 things do you know today that you didn’t know on the first day of class. What 2 things do you think you want more information about. What 1 thing will you do differently as a result of the information you now have? I’m sure glad that I didn’t say that grammar and spelling counted, but I’m sure that’s a story for another day!

Here is some of what I got back. It let me know that I had in fact made some impact on the millennial minds that were sitting in front of me for the past three Tuesday evenings:

  • I know how to observe better.
  • I learned that SMART objectives can be used in my regular life.
  • I’ll look at evaluators differently when I’m out in the real world, they’re not there to be evil.
  • It’s important to have objectives if you want something to be successful.

So, the thank you today goes to wherever I learned that 3-2-1 model, it’s such a useful and productive way to get feedback quickly. And, if you’re the one who taught this to me…let me know!

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