Lauralee is a staff writer for Justmeans in the Education category. Lauralee also works at a community college in the Community Programs Department. She is an expert in teaching and leadership. She believes in raising education's standards and rewarding those who make strides in the field. Her passions include empowering communities with educational practices and implementing proven practices....
Public Schools: Evaluating Teacher Evaluations
Public schools are looking to change what comprises and the frequency of a teacher's formal evaluation. Teacher evaluations are massively important, as they are the tools that keep good and bad teachers. They also provide feedback for teachers so they can improve their craft. With difficulties retaining good teachers and firing bad ones, public schools are revamping the teacher evaluation system. Before looking at possible changes, here are some ideas about the current state of teacher evaluations.
Formal teacher evaluations differ from states and school districts, and for non-tenured and tenured teachers. There is not a national evaluation tool, but many of the evaluation schedules are similar: Non-tenured teachers have more than one evaluation per year, and they submit extra lesson plans as well. Tenured teachers have evaluations every other year. Teachers can have goals that they focus on throughout the years of scheduled evaluations, which is then part of their evaluation process. An evaluator looks at the content taught, teaching methods, classroom management and overall effectiveness. The process, including the meeting beforehand, the class period and the post-meeting takes about two hours. The biggest reason for an overhaul is that a two-hour period every other year cannot provide an accurate picture of a teacher's performance. Plus, not all evaluations occur.
Teachers can teach for a decade without having an administrator formally in their classrooms. This can go unnoticed by school districts and if they eventually have a problem with a teacher, they do not have the paperwork to support termination.
Both tenured and non-tenured teachers have the chance of unannounced, less formal evaluations at public schools. If the principal or other evaluator sees a problem, the process of investigation begins, which will include many formal evaluations. Critics of typical evaluations argue that 'drop-ins' offer a more accurate picture of what a teacher does on a day-to-day basis. Still others fear a witch-hunt and manipulations of teacher paperwork, something that will haunt teachers as they try to gain employment elsewhere. Public schools have not yet found the balance of fair evaluations.
Controversy surrounds evaluations, as a checklist or summary sheet cannot simply determine if a teacher properly does his job correctly. Like teacher pay and workdays, evaluations have room for change. More detailed and involved evaluations will require more manpower, and money. Public schools are working to improve evaluations. My next post will cover different methods of evaluating teachers, and where this very important topic in public schools is headed.
Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan