Evaluating Educators

Excellence in Teaching is a new pilot program aimed at discovering why some schools are on probation while their teachers continue to score “excellent” for Chicago Public Schools.

Flickr photo

Instead of a vague checklist that principals use to rate teacher effectiveness, the new program aims to define good and bad teaching, gives principals and teachers a common language to discuss frankly how to make improvements, and requires evidence that teachers meet certain criteria.

Defining the Good

With so many different learning styles, and every student an individual learner, teachers need not only communicate an idea, but make certain that all students understand. A teacher can’t just have something present-and-accounted-for…there needs to be quality. So now, when evaluating teachers, how is there only a present-and-accounted-for/not,  option? If education isn’t a clear cut path, how are teachers being evaluated only on whether or not they’re on some kind of path?

That’s what this program is exploring–how do we establish a feasible system of evaluating our educators without the multiple-choice options? How do we create a feasible system of deep-discussion, accounting for different teaching styles as well as different learning styles?

And yet I can’t help but worry about the possible future of my teacherhood–and the stress of evaluations! Where does intention and reality meet?


Flickr photo courtesy of kevindooley



Filed under Thoughts on Teaching

5 responses to “Evaluating Educators

  1. Though it would be a little intimidating for teachers, I think the best and most accurate way to gauge teacher performance is to watch it – a lot! At my field placement, the principal does “walk-throughs” 3-4 times a week where she comes in and observes the teacher. In addition to this, I think it’s important to consider student progress (not always performance). It’s also important to talk to parents and other faculty who work with the teacher in question. I don’t think teacher performance can always be measured objectively. It’s important to find out what’s really happening!

  2. Stephanie

    I feel as though this is a challenge that all teachers have. How do we accommodate all of our students needs. I think about that all of the time, and still do not have a good answer for it. I know how important it is to teach my students the material so they pass the standardized tests. But what about the students who do not test well, it does not mean that they do not understand the material they may know it better than other students who did well on the test. So how do I teach my students to be good test takers so they are able to succeed in their career. After all we have a nation that places so much on these standardized tests.

    • My best attempt to help those who don’t test well is to teach them how to take tests; to teach them what the test jargon is all about and maybe even some bits about what “best answer” really means. My friend is practicing the “test-taking” skills in preparation for taking the LSAT. It would be impossible to try to teach everything in the world, especially when it’s not culturally relevant (as these tests are notorious for).

  3. schmi355

    My brother told me this when I expressed nervousness about my future teaching career and it always comes back to me, so I will always share it with nervous future teachers that I know.
    If you’re doing your job, and you’re doing it for the right reasons and keeping your students’ future and happiness first in your thoughts, you’ll be fine. Do your job, remember why you wanted to be a teacher, don’t get caught up in politics, and help your kids. I can tell you’ll be great already, and I hope we stay in touch so I can tell you in the future “I told you so!”

    • Bah-ah-ha, thanks much. What you say about helping the kids is true—that’s why we’re there! With that kind of philosophy you can’t go too wrong.

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