I am struggling with all this talk about teacher evaluation and I can’t help but think that all of this time and energy is being wasted on something that we will never come to agreement on. Besides, with the primary focus of teacher evaluation more on standardized test scores than increasing the level of engagement in student learning opportunities can we really get where we want to go?
In my opinion, we need learner-centered environments where teachers and students are all considered learners. We need to develop a community of learners where teachers are passionate about learning and sharing conversations with one another about what engaging learning environments.
While I agree that moving our public education system forward is a daunting task, I don’t think that evaluating teachers is the way to get there. I think its just another example of something done to someone and I think it immediately puts those involved into a defensive posture where constructive outcomes are not the norm.
Instead, we need to spend more time looking at environments where innovative thinking and creativity are fostered. If these are the things that we value for our students then we need to offer the same opportunities for our teachers. We need to think outside the box on this one because I sincerely believe that the models that I am seeing are time-consuming procedures that do nothing to improve learning.
I think we need to look at walkthrough models where teachers collectively gather data on the qualities of engaging classrooms in their own schools. We need to encourage reflection by all learners (including teachers). After decades of proof that teacher evaluation does not improve teaching and/or learning it might be time to try something different? Seriously!
photo via academyofstgeorge.org/