Evaluations can be either very effective or ineffective depending on how they are used and what is done with the information they gather. Similar to student evaluations, teacher evaluations can help guide a teacher to work at their best potential.
Teachers are responsible for a variety of tasks on a day to day basis, but most importantly they are responsible for the students that they teach. Good teachers are the one’s that inspire students to learn, challenge them daily to do better, and teach them to respect others views even if they don’t agree with them. Not all teachers teach the same way, but they should all be working toward achieving these goals. Evaluations help us to measure the effectiveness teachers have in these areas, and if used correctly it can guide them to get better especially if used for high-stakes applications. There should never be half measures and all teachers, just like their students should be held to high standards.
Getting a clear picture of what is happening in the classroom is not an easy task, there is a multitude of variables that always changes, that a single observation from a stranger or administrator once a year would not be able to get a from one snapshot. Getting evaluations from multiple stakeholders, with varying weight could go a long way to getting a fuller view of a teacher’s abilities. Students, parents, administrators, other field experts or department heads and self-evaluations can and should be used for the purpose of career development feedback.
Observations are the most commonly used to evaluate teachers and will probably still be the popular choice for evaluations in the foreseeable future. In South Korea, we call it open class. Parents, other teachers, and administrators visit your class for one day or a lesson and observe how effective you are as a teacher. Usually, a teacher will get advance notice to prepare and will get feedback a few days later. In theory, this is an excellent idea, but it has morphed into a bit of “a sideshow” here, where the lesson is rehearsed a few times before the special day. Teachers are expected to pull out all the stops and make a big impression on all those attending, in short, it does not come close to any typical class students would have on a daily basis. Students also have opportunities to give feedback on a semesterly cycle, but I am unsure how much their input weighs in the grand scheme of things (culture does play a major role in this).
Ideally, I would like my observations to go along the lines of the “New Teacher Survival Guide.”
- Informed of observation: The when, where, and who’s of the evaluation.
- Pre-observation meeting: Chance to explain the lesson objectives and expectations. To give the observer an idea of the classroom context and for them to explain what they would be looking for.
- Observation: During the lesson, is the teacher prepared, does the teacher have a back-up plan if things don’t go as planned. Material prep etc.
- Post- observation meeting: Teacher to reflect on how the lesson went and to receive some constructive feedback that will help them grow into a better teacher.
These steps give the teacher a chance to create a context for the observer of what the class would look like on a typical day. It allows for rapport to form and questions to be asked about that might be essential to either the teacher or observer. Lastly, it gives the teacher a chance to reflect on their lesson before and after the evaluation takes place.
- New Teacher Survival Guide: The Formal Observation. (n.d.). Retrieved June 06, 2017, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/preparing-for-formal-observations
- Teacher Development and Evaluation. (n.d.). Retrieved June 06, 2017, from https://www.aft.org/position/teacher-development-and-evaluation
- Teacher Evaluation-A Resource Guide.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved June 06, 2017, from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzYfzjQoASL_eGdtNFdsbXRIRDQ/view