Learning from Teacher Evaluation Experiences

After being involved in all aspects of teacher evaluations for decades, it’s my own experiences that are often the most compelling way of communicating best practice. With that in mind, here are accounts of five evaluations that I personally conducted and what I learned from them. In deference to those who were evaluated and to avoid any possible identification, I …

Teacher evaluations and independent school success

While teacher evaluation is undoubtedly important in any school, it can be critical to the success of independent schools. Here are three ways in which that is true. 1. Teaching Excellence. Good teacher evaluation contributes to the quality of the school. Done well, teacher evaluation encourages reflection on and refining of teaching practice. It recognizes and encourages good work, and …

Students should contribute to teacher evaluations

It is standard practice for university students to complete evaluations of their instructor at the end of a course. Yet students in elementary and secondary schools seldom are involved. The evaluation of independent school heads, in contrast to teachers, often is some version of “360 degree” evaluation, where input is sought from the various publics and stakeholders with whom the …

Linking teacher evaluation and standardized testing

How are teachers really evaluated in independent schools? Most traditional teacher evaluation methods use a number of questions to focus heavily on classroom processes and atmosphere. What is the teacher doing? Lecturing or providing engaging activities that will interest students and help them learn important content, concepts and skills? What are students doing? Are they engaged and productively busy? Are …

8 Tips and 2 Tests to stay out of social media trouble

There continue to be so many well publicized cases of people getting into terrible trouble for emails they sent or comments posted on social media. It’s remarkable that many teachers and public figures seem to have not yet learned to protect themselves. One can never be too careful. Whatever is posted, is there forever. It can never be withdrawn. Regardless …

Mentoring and evaluation don’t mix

A mentor cannot be a supervisor. It’s just that simple. One of the most important features of mentoring is that it is non-evaluative.   The mentoring relationship only works when the mentee feels able to be completely frank with the mentor, and can share difficulties, doubts and dilemmas, as well as triumphs and successes. Such frankness is not possible with someone …

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3 Myths of Teacher Evaluations

The teacher evaluation process is fraught with misconceptions. Dispelling the myths about teacher evaluation can lead to evaluations that are better understood and that contribute more to a positive school culture and improved school success. Let’s take on three of those myths. Myth #1: Teacher evaluation results in improvement of instruction. Many teacher evaluation policies give as a reason for …

How to avoid demotivating teachers

Don’t demotivate your teachers! Much has been said about how to motive teachers.  However, it is more important to avoid demotivating them.  Here are seven ways that are sure to demotivate teachers: “Inclusive” classrooms without adequate support for students with significant special needs Unsupportive administration when dealing with difficult parents Excessive administrative demands – paperwork, over-complicated reporting systems, too many …

Should teachers give homework?

Homework is often controversial, dividing both parents and teachers. Those in favour, believe that homework teaches responsibility, organization skills, and strengthens learning. Those against, say it places strain on families, and takes away from time that students should have for other things. Students, they argue, spend enough time in school, and homework should be unnecessary. I think that the value …