Am I An Effective Teacher?

There are many ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher: observations, rating forms, informal drop ins, student work, student surveys, and student tests. Many different organizations keep looking for different ways to look at teacher improvement and thus school improvement.

Some ratings are tied to compensation, and others to tenure. Others seem to be done as a formality. Some are pass/fail while others use a rubric: exemplary, proficient, adequate, ineffective. Regardless of the system, for it to be effective, an action path for growth needs to take place. Even if you are an exemplary teacher, there’s always room for growth.

At the same time, positive feedback is only good if it is specific. “Good job!” doesn’t mean anything more than ‘you did well.’ What part specifically? The whole entire thing? Really? I had a good morning today as my head of school came in and gave me direct feedback with concrete examples. It was positive, but specific. Now I know and can think to myself, “That part was good, so Implement it next year. Ask yourself is there a way to make it better?”

I’m excited as our new school at more effective ways to evaluate our teachers. I’m hoping with the intent of developing growth mindsets. Perhaps if we look at all the data about the kinds of assessments we collect from children, the same kinds could apply to teachers.

There are so many ways to collect evidence that you’re reaching your goals. Student work, portfolios, student surveys, individual assessments, their daily writing, observation, questioning., etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to get past the old teacher observation evaluation model and incorporate elements of the assessments we place on kids. Observation and feedback should just be a piece of the pie.

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One thought on “Am I An Effective Teacher?

  1. I think you’re really onto something when you discuss the way that teacher evaluation should model or reflect the kinds of better assessments that students are experiencing in thoughtful classrooms. Portfolios and reflective writing (in addition to discussions with peers and time to revise) would surely benefit all of us who are educators and would better showcase our work. I have the opportunity to share a reflective learning space with my students and have actually started my own blog as a place to begin reflecting (ever so slowly) on my work teaching and also as a place to continue the learning and sharing beyond the classroom and the term’s end. Why do you think this model hasn’t already replaced the observation/teacher test model? Do you get the sense that there is some anxiety surrounding the idea of a more thoughtful, daily assessment of the teaching work that so many of us do?

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