Evaluating the Teaching Staff
Throughout the schooling process students are sometimes placed with teachers that do not successfully teach or educate their students. Many teachers within institutions fit such a description. Teachers who do not seek to challenge students teach the class that students figure they can blow off due to their relationship with the teacher. Less challenging teachers may also be the teacher that may have rank at their institution so their course is not really difficult because they feel they are not going anywhere so they feel they do not have to take the necessary procedures in order to earn their pay. A solution exist for finding out which teachers within the institution are successfully doing their job and those that are not, and the solution is at the end of that courses semester ask that students complete teacher evaluations on the instructor. Who knows better than the students on the great or poor job an instructor may be doing?
Dr. Fioriello, an education consultant, states her concordance with the importance of teacher evaluations:
“Every school and university requires the employment of competent teachers who are capable of guiding students to a successful future. It is with this intention that teacher evaluations should be compulsory by students at all levels.” (Dr. Fioriello)
Parents along with principals or presidents of institutions feel as if students are “the boy that cried wolf” when they complain about teachers not fulfilling their duties as instructors. When a student complains about a teacher the heads of institutions often disagree with the opinion of a student because they feel they hired a good teacher. As a student myself, how can a great teacher be strictly determined by the head of an institution? Not only is that not a democracy but also that principal or president does not sit in the class of that instructor everyday to know how great of a teacher that instructor is. Interviews differ from lectures, therefore, who better than to evaluate a teacher than that teacher’s students. In effort of presenting a democratic solution, the evaluations of the student and the institutions president combined is more “fair” for lack of a better word rather than all evaluating power be in the hands of the president.
Although I feel evaluations are necessary there are teachers who disagree, teachers that think evaluations are burdensome or inaccurate.
“Though well intentioned, these systems are burdensome and not helpful for teachers who are looking to improve their practice. Nor do they assist administrators in making difficult decisions regarding teacher performance.” (Danielson 3)
One half of the book Teacher Evaluation: To Enhance Professional Practice, Charlotte Danielson states his opposition to teacher evaluations. As a teacher feels about the evaluations they receive students feel the same about the evaluations they are given such as high school exiting exams, SAT’s, ACT’s, and any other forms of student evaluation that exist. Although teachers and students have such opposition to these evaluations they serve a purpose, and teacher evaluations definitely serve a purpose in presenting information to administrators on whom in the teaching staff is in fact teaching successfully. In this text one can also feel the emotion they have toward the “1-4” scale, four being good, or any other form of a grading scale presented in such teacher evaluations.
It is said by Charlotte Danielson and Thomas McGreal that teacher evaluations “lacks precision in evaluating performance”:
“Most evaluation systems depend on a single dichotomous scale, such as “satisfactory, needs improvement,” and the like. Some evaluation systems, on the other hand, have attempted to incorporate “rating scales,” that is, scales from “1” to “4”or levels representing “low, medium, and high,” or “needs improvement, satisfactory, and outstanding”… Though offering a promise of greater objectivity and specificity than a simple checklist of whether certain behaviors were observed or not, such systems typically fall well short of their potential…”
In translation, teachers, at least in Danielson and McGreal’s study, feel as students do, that these evaluations do not fully or correctly portray them as an instructor. Why is that their grading scale lacks no precision but these evaluations do? Evaluations simply give administrators information about a teacher’s success in a classroom; the addition of “3’s” or “satisfactory” does not in the end give a teacher a GPA. Simply, if a teacher is getting numerous “satisfactory” ratings, or an alarming amount of “needs improvement” then the head of institutions know what kind of teaching staff they have and evaluations give a voice to the students rather than going to the principal complaining everyday. Evaluations to teachers are what grades are to students; teachers must be open to criticism as we as students are to their criticism. Teacher evaluation aside from giving a voice to students who feel their teacher is not fulfilling their duties, it also serves as way for teachers to get better at what they are doing if a teacher teaches for the love of teaching they should be willing to do what is required to be a great teacher.
Danielson, Charlotte, and Thomas L. McGreal. Teacher Evaluation: To Enhance Professional Practice. Virginia: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2000. Print.
Richardson, Brian, and Lawrence R. Wheeless. “Teachers Tattling on Teachers: Policy Attitude and Tenure’s Influence on Peer Reporting of Unethical Behavior.” International Journal of Education Reform. Vol. 18, Issue1. Pg. 46-62. 2009
“Suggestions for Successful Teacher Evaluations by Students.” Drpfconsults.com. Dr. Patricia Fioriello, 3 Dec. 2009. Web. 4 April. 2011.