Few people I've spoken with about evaluations seem to find new evaluation frameworks useful in improving their teaching or in providing useful coaching feedback. The question of “what does good teaching look like?” is not clearer to them because new evaluation models have been adopted, many defying statistical logic of validity (especially those that rely on “student achievement” as part of teacher scores). Those who created these frameworks are raking in record profits while school districts struggle under the increased burden of these evaluation tools. Those making the decisions seem to know little about how these tools work and assume the data generated is valid despite overwhelming evidence that it is not necessarily objective or valid data for decisions. Instead, there are several other ways to consider what good teaching looks like.
The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation by Jennifer Ansbach
Tell Your Story
In 2005, I attended a summer teaching institute for the humanities. Over the course of the week, the twenty-five participants grew to learn more not only about the subject matter we were studying but also about the teaching contexts that vary so widely in our state. At the time, I was teaching in one of my state’s neediest districts, and I saw my attendance at the institute as a way to be certain I was doing right by my students. At the end of the week, as we were sharing ways we could use what we had learned to create new units for our students, a woman who was a supervisor at a nearby district said to me, “Wow. I didn’t know your district had teachers like you. I would have hired you.”
This comment stunned me. First, I realized that she assumed I was teaching in my district because I had been turned down by other districts. But I had applied only to the district I was teaching in: I had been looking for a change and a challenge. Second, in that moment I understood how the larger world saw my colleagues and me—because we taught in what was labeled a failing school district, we were failures, also.
Teacher evaluation can be tough for everyone involved. And in the context of literacy instruction, teachers and administrators oftentimes are not on the same page when it comes to understanding what good literacy instruction looks like, and what criteria to set for evaluation.
In Making Teacher Evaluation Work, Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin examine the roles of teachers, teacher leaders, coaches, and principals in supporting high-quality literacy instruction in the context of accountability and evaluation policy.
With new-generation teacher evaluation policies in place, the evaluation process may seem as daunting as ever—for both teachers and evaluators. And when both sides have a different understanding of what teacher evaluation looks like in the context of literacy instruction, evaluations can end up entirely unproductive.
As Making Teacher Evaluation Work points out, it doesn't have to be this way. Authors Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin walk you through the entire teacher evaluation process and offer context and strategies aimed at improving the process for everyone involved. The authors clearly show how effective evaluations provide the foundation for collaboration that improves literacy instruction, promotes teacher growth, and supports schoolwide improvement.
As a beginning teacher, not knowing what areas of your teaching to improve can be overwhelming. This is where teacher evaluations come in handy.
In Making Teacher Evaluation Work, authors Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin examine the evaluation process from both a teacher and administrator point of view. The authors suggest ways to bring these two different perspectives together with the goal of improving the evaluation process, and using teacher evaluations to improve teaching.
In Making Teacher Evaluation Work, Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin walk you through the entire teacher evaluation process—from policy to practice—offering context and strategies with the goal of improving the process for everyone involved. The authors examine the roles of teachers, teacher leaders, coaches, and principals in supporting high-quality literacy instruction in the context of accountability and evaluation policy.
Teacher evaluations can cause unwanted tensions on both sides. In the following video, authors Rachael and Sarah discuss what an empowered teacher and evaluator relationship looks like, as well as how to maintain one.