How to evaluate your teachers?

  • Blog By
    Dr. Shivkumar Chinnusamy
    Managing Director
    The Indian Public School
    Dec 17, 2019 | In Blog

As a part of the school senior management, we always would want to evaluate the teachers to make sure they are progressing and to know whether they are on their tasks. We usually use to have a format of evaluation and would have one of the Heads from the Leadership team going for observation, evaluating them on a set of criteria on classroom management, subject expertise and also in areas which the school feels important. Many schools opt for this method and they do it one to three times a year.

Believe me, we have being doing this for many years and we have changed different formats of evaluation and criteria for many years. As a part of the leadership team, we weren’t convinced about the results of the entire process since it neither improved the quality of teaching nor their expertise. To site an example, one of our Math teachers was offended and upset with the entire process of observation as she felt it did not do justice to her painstaking effort to reach out to the different leveled learners. She also felt that this evaluation report would put her down in front of her colleagues and subsequently she put down her papers.

This was a major learning for us and this made us rethink about the purpose and process of evaluation. It should not be done to decide the pay hike or retention of teachers, rather should provide feedback to the teachers on areas where they need to work on and areas where they are already strong, so that they can improve the teaching and learning methods thus directly benefiting the learners.

The class observation method that we use for teacher evaluation doesn’t provide the information that is required for teacher progress and development because,

  • Observation report is a perspective of that observer and another observer might provide a totally different perspective.
  • Cannot evaluate a teacher who is teaching for the entire year with couple of class observations.
  • There is no feedback on the areas to work on and progress, instead a rating to measure them and compare with others.

Research shows evaluating by class observation,

  • Is ambiguous and biased
  • Lacks support from heads in implementation
  • Is too complex and time consuming
  • Is demoralizing and demotivating for the teachers

If we have to improve our teaching and learning process, the evaluation should always be,

  • Self-evaluation by teachers against agreed criteria with teacher providing necessary evidences to support for each criteria.
  • Based on what they should do and they should know.
  • Related to what they do on a daily basis rather than picking something from somewhere they are totally out of context.
  • Based on the learner’s progression like program outcomes, learning goals etc… And not based on marks or grades.

Student survey can be conducted by the leadership team in a prescribed format and can be used as a tool to identify the strengths and areas of improvement.

The heads need to work with the teacher individually based on self-evaluation and completely go through the evidences and suggest their areas of strengths and improvements. Should provide the independence for teachers to choose their own evidences for each criterion (eg: portfolios, anecdotes, worksheets, photos, videos etc). Should plan supportive sessions for them to improve and progress.

This will create a happy, non-competitive, motivational and healthy environment for the teachers that will lead to better teaching, learning and retention.

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