Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sshintaku, Nov 14, 2010.
Nov 14, 2010
I agree that it is a plan that can be wrought with difficulties. I am so tired of school systems looking for outlandish ways to "evaluate" teachers.
That's the way they do it on a college level (you should read some of the evaluations my sister has gotten, so funny that this is the future of America), but lower than that I don't know. For some kids in their minds what makes someone a good teacher is not what an admin would value. If their teacher never gives them homework and lets them watch movies all day-that would be a good teacher in their book.
I know it's different for Elementary but my kids had to be split up because I had an ARD the other day and came back raving about Ms. Smith because she let them color a turkey. I don't think an activity like that is rigorous so it's not something I let them do, just color-to them though-awesome teacher!
I think that students in high school lack the maturity and experience necessary to effectively evaluate their teachers. They don't know what effective teaching is supposed to look like. They often can't even tell the difference between "She was rude to me and yelled at me!!" and "She told me that I couldn't text during class". I wouldn't want my career to be determined by an immature 14-year-old who thinks I'm mean because I assign homework and expect my students to do it.
I will often ask my students to evaluate specific projects or assignments after they've finished them. I ask questions about clarity of directions and things like that. The feedback helps me tweak assignments for the following year. I don't think I would ask my seventh graders, though, to evaluate me unless I was asking very specific, targeted questions. Otherwise, it just turns into "Rate My Teachers .com"
How about this:
Get an A in the class = you get to write an evaluation for the teacher.
Still not really the best option. Students can get As in cakewalk classes and give evaluations saying how wonderful their teachers are...when their teacher let them watch Transformers and eat hot cheetos all day.
Of course, I'll guess what went through the admin's heads when they dreamed up this scheme:
Well, students evaluate teachers at universities. Therefore, if we have students evaluate teachers, then people will compare our high school to a university because we are doing the same things.
The problem is that with universities, you fill out the evaluation of your professor before you have taken the final exam. Up to that point, your grade in the class is still largely to be determined because the final in a college class is a big chunk of your grade. Student evaluations of college instructors have a good chance of being an accurate assessment of the class because students' only gauge is how well they feel they are prepared for the final.
But I'm assuming that the teacher evaluations would be written at the end of the year or semester after several grades had been issued by the teacher. Nothing clouds an evaluation of an instructor like a bad grade. Such evaluations would not be valid nor would they be an accurate assessment of the teachers performance.
The other thing is that college professors don't have do things that upset students as part of their job. No college professor ever gave me after school detention, sent me to the office, or called my parents and and caused me to be grounded for a week. But my best high school teachers did all of those things to me. At the time, if I had the chance to write an evaluation of those teachers, I would have been unduly harsh.
In our district, schools (not teachers) are evaluated by three role groups: (1)all teachers at a school, (2)a RANDOM sampling of parents, and (3)a RANDOM sampling of our 6th graders. All role groups complete a survey about instructional quality, rigor, and relevance, safety, and system responsiveness about THE SCHOOL.
Some teachers, myself included, voluntarily send student and/or parent surveys at the end of the school year to solicit feedback about their teaching. Both surveys give teachers and admins valuable perception data that drives improvement the following school year.,
I give a course evaluation at the end of each term.
I teach at the university level, so I get course evaluations at the end of the semester. My fellow instructors and I have proposed only accepting course evaluations that use correct grammar. I am grateful for a discerning supervisor who knows which complaints/suggestions should be taken seriously. "Needs to use more English" is a complaint that most students give, but the department pretty much ignores it.
That said, I don't know if all high school students are mature enough to write a coherent and fair evaluation, and I don't think high school administrators are capable of sorting through the nonsense students occasionally put into them. Also, I don't know what impact the involvement of parents will have at the high school level (university instructors rarely if ever deal with angry parents). I like the evals at the university level (they give me a good laugh from time to time), but it doesn't work at the high school level.
One of the teachers at my old school would ask her students to evaluate her teaching at the end of term. She was very specific in her instructions to them. They could criticize the course, however it couldn't be things she could not change and they couldn't suggest something off the wall. "No more tests" or "We should watch movies all day" weren't accepted, for example.
She did learn, however, that when she wrote in a certain coloured marker on the whiteboard, the majority of the class had trouble seeing. As well, she learned that sometimes she spoke too softly and some kids couldn't hear.
I think students evaluating courses can be a good idea. I think it gives feedback to teachers about what they do well and what they could improve upon, from a student's perspective.
Formal evaluations by students, that are sent to administration and placed in the teachers' files, IMO, is asking for trouble.
I generally ask students what they would change about the class after first quarter. This year, I found that students are enjoying our vocabulary/root word stuff and would like MORE of it (suprise to me). I also found out about using certain markers last year with kids. But kids doing formal evals that help determine whether or not I keep my job? Kids don't need that kind of power.
I just feel like this is a tool of admin to get the "kids on their side," since the kids staged a protest last month about admin. I adore my school, and have worked really hard to stay here, but I'm honestly begging to wonder if its worth all the stress and ridiculousness.
Separate names with a comma.