Nowadays, we are hearing a great deal about the sorry state of affairs in our public education system. There is a hue and cry for a weeding out of the bad apples in the teaching ranks. The question arises as to what it is that is the issue of consideration. There is a difference between being incompetent and poor performance.
It seems to me that incompetency would show up within the first three years of the teaching experience. Poor performance may develop later in a teacher’s career. Both of these terms need explicit clarification. Who is responsible for determining the competency or lack thereof, or the performance of a teacher or administrator, or of a board of education? Legal issues abound.
Even though I have written several articles about the type of supervision in the school environment, I have not addressed the specifics of evaluation. To begin with, teacher evaluation needs to be more than a mere check list of do’s and don’ts. Such things as the following do have their place in the overall evaluation of a teacher, but they are not what is significant: Can students easily hear the teacher? Does the teacher speak clearly. Does the teacher stand or remain seated while giving instruction.? Are the bulletin boards attractive? Do bulletin boards reflect the lesson?
As a former chair of an English department with fourteen teachers, I visited each teacher every semester. These are some of the things I looked for: Does the teacher have good eye contact with the students? Does the teacher use her or his voice to stimulate student interest? Does the teacher call upon students by name? Does the teacher’s use of student names reflect an attitude toward the student(s)? Does the teacher use encouraging language and tone? Do the teacher’s questions reflect the answer he or she wants? Does the teacher show a general feeling of warmth for the students? Does the teacher demonstrate lesson preparedness? There are several other criteria that come into the evaluation. One is sufficient to illustrate the point: Does the teacher greet his or her students when they enter the classroom?
After the official observation, I met with the teacher, discussed my observation, and provided opportunity for teacher feedback. This is crucial in maintaining effective staff rapport and development. Teachers should receive copies of the written evaluation. They should provide space for the teacher to make a formal response. Open communication raises the bar of excellence.
Norman W Wilson, PhDImmobilienmakler Heidelberg Makler Heidelberg