Ask Me Anything: 6 Answers to Your Questions About Teacher Evaluations.
1. What is the most effective way to evaluate a teacher?
Answer: The most effective method for evaluating a teacher is dual, mutual involvement and ongoing collaboration in the evaluation process.
The teacher, being guided by the evaluator, is consulted and involved throughout the evaluation process. When this happens, the evaluation becomes a tool to springboard true growth and ongoing improvement.
2. How do I involve the teacher in their evaluation?
Answer: A first step in actively involving teachers in the process is to have them answer questions about the teacher evaluation.
Doing so before and after the evaluation gets them thinking about the process that naturally makes them more involved. This process also gives both sides some critical talking points when they meet face-to-face as some evaluation systems require the teacher and evaluator to meet before the evaluation takes place and after the completion of the evaluation.
3. Is it teachers or their teaching we’re assessing?
Answer: It makes a difference.
If we’re observing, analyzing and reflecting on the process of teaching, there are always changes that can be made, strategies adopted, new skills learned, attitudes adjusted.
If we’re simply stack-ranking educators, with the intention of lopping off the least “effective,” any process we use will fail, whether it includes standardized test scores or not.
4. When should we evaluate teaching?
Answer: All the time – whether teachers are green and struggling or three-decade veterans.
Ideally, teaching should be dissected frequently–every day, by colleagues and students, as well as the teacher herself–with an eye toward what’s getting desired results, and what isn’t working very well.
5. Who should evaluate teaching? Who is best positioned to craft a philosophy of evaluation and assessment protocols for teachers
Answer: A building administrator probably understands school context better than a neutral party, and peers can provide even more information about the value of certain choices teachers make in classroom practice.
There must be open communication between evaluator and practitioner.
6. Why is it impossible to believe in the school where every teacher is effective?
Answer: It’s not. If a district is hiring carefully, mentoring new teachers and providing ongoing professional learning, why wouldn’t upwards of 95% of their teachers be performing at a level somewhere between competent and amazing?
That’s what other organizations, from law firms to landscaping businesses, do–hire the best available, train them, then monitor.
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