Concern

In my district, I am evaluated twice.  Is that enough to identify areas of improvement, provide targeted professional development and feedback, and measure its impact on student achievement?  Absolutely not.

Evaluation as a Tool

Don’t wait or hope for administration to tell you how you are doing or what you can improve on.  Rather, use the single most important resource in your class: the student.  The student knows when they are learning, engaged, and in a productive learning environment.  Twice a semester (4 times a year) I ask my students to evaluate me on a series of criteria: curriculum, instruction, learning environment, teacher professionalism, and teacher support.  I do this for every class.  Sometimes I create a quantitative analysis from the results, but most of the time I can just look at the data/comments and get a feel as to how to improve.  I usually then jot down my thoughts and steps that I will take to improve.  It’s the only way I can remember it after a few weeks, plus it provides a record (baseline) that I can measure my progress against.

It’s a little unnerving at first, but the more I do it the easier it is.  Couple tips before implementing this:

  • Give a word about how you take this serious, using this data/info to change your practice.
  • Ask for constructive feedback, reinforcing the idea that they should not hold back.
  • Tell students not to write their names on the evaluations.
  • Have a student collect the surveys in a manila folder
  • Avoid giving this right after doing a REALLY FUN activity or bribing them with candy; this defeats the point

Problem/Solution

Once you receive this date, pick 1-2 items you can improve.  In my latest review, students ranked me lower than I would like in “listening to their needs.”  Problem is I start class right at the bell and I am off running, leading to little time for 1-1 student comments/concerns.   This is not to say I don’t address individual student needs, but its an ares that I can work on.  So, I decided to take action.  I decided to implement a question/concern box (wrote about this in my book) that I used in middle-school.  I have students put their questions (not related to curriculum or day’s objective), concerns, and/or comments in the box.  I then reply to the students within 24 hours, via note or call home.  It’s really effective, allowing for more instructional need and attention to the students’ needs.  Students are happier; not to mention, I am calling home more often, which is a positive.

I look forward to seeing how my students will evaluate me next round in this area!

Please see attached a copy of the evaluation I have my students use on me.  If you have one yourself, please email me (eric@road2teaching.com) and I will post it as well.

RESOURCES

Student evaluation of teacher effectiveness

P.S. If you are a student teacher, this is  great evidence of your ability to evaluate and reflect on your own practices.  Be sure to include your reflections in your teacher portfolio.

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