“How am I doing?” For many teachers, performance evaluations should come down to answering that simple question. No matter the technique used or the evaluator involved, the core mission of this process must be to provide a thoughtful response that leads to growth of some sort.
When taken in that context, it’s apparent that teachers should be given the benefit of knowing how they’re doing frequently — not just once a year.
Statistics bear this out. According to one study, four out of every 10 employees reported feeling actively disengaged when they received little to no feedback. Here’s another relevant statistic: 43 percent of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week.
While weekly feedback sessions may not be possible, you can implement a plan in your school or district that encourages more frequent feedback — perhaps monthly or quarterly instead of annually. Here are some tips in mind to make them effective:
- Make the teacher’s goals clear and measurable. It’s not enough to speak in broad terms about a teacher improving performance in the classroom. Strive for measurable goals, using SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Clearly communicate those goals to give teachers the direction they need to succeed.
- Ensure that the goals and steps are documented. In the day-to-day rush of job responsibilities, it can be easy to lose track of goals unless they are easily accessible. Keeping them digitized provides a way to review and regularly update any progress made with the goals.
- Schedule regular times to meet. If you don’t set aside time to meet with teachers on a regular basis, there’s a good chance those meetings won’t happen. Or they can come across as rushed and thoughtless. Give teachers the benefit of your attention as part of these regularly scheduled meetings. Avoid allowing anything to interrupt them.
Improving teachers’ performance requires a genuine commitment on your part. Develop a plan that allows you to give regular feedback that doesn’t just come once a year.