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Rear view of students attentively listening to boy by teacher in the classroom

The Benefits of Short Observations

With the second semester winding down, administrators have a variety of tasks on their minds.  Some are fun, like end of year celebrations of student successes.  Some are more management focused, and invariably land on those “to do” lists that we all have.  And ultimately, every administrator needs to plan on some time off to refresh and refocus during those non-instructional summer months!

But the highly effective administrator is always participating in reflective practice, evaluating what went particularly well during the school year, and analyzing how to improve what did not go as well as planned.

The teacher evaluation process is no different.  In fact, providing effective feedback that contributes to individual employee growth takes time and effort on the part of school leaders. Therefore, we want to make sure that feedback is consistent, timely, and embedded into the culture of our schools, and not just a brief summary on an annual performance review.

Continuous Feedback

As we plan our teacher evaluation schedules, it may be tempting to consider cutting back on the short or mini observations of our staff to save time.  But do the benefits of short observations outweigh the time commitment required to complete them?  At Standard For Success, we support the best practice of continuous feedback, and below are a few reasons why:

  1. Imagine being a beginning teacher struggling with classroom management.  Does that teacher need help in August, December, or April?  This is somewhat of a trick question, because while the first “right” answer may appear to be August, the actual answer is “all of the above”! Our teachers and students benefit from consistent, constructive, timely feedback.
  2. Think about the veteran teacher who is likely doing a fantastic job and doesn’t need feedback. Or do they?  If we think of feedback as only criticism, we are inclined to skip those who are doing a great job.  In reality, we all need feedback (positive and negative).  Take the time to reinforce what these employees are doing well, and they will continue doing so.
  3. SFS software is all about data collection and management. Collecting a variety of teacher evaluation data helps us to construct a bigger “picture” of what a teacher is doing well and what may need improvement than a one-time review of performance.

Whether we call them short, mini, walk through, etc., the benefits of continuous observation and evaluation of our teachers is essential to the successful teacher evaluation process.  It is how we grow professionally and perfect our crafts, ultimately improving instruction for our students .

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