Teacher Evaluation and Classroom Observations

There is a blog in Charlotte, NC operated by Ann Doss Helms that is worthy of following.  It seem her main responsibility is covering local preK-12 schooling; however, she frequently covers more national issues, and in the cases of the link provided below, she covers the complexities of teacher observations and teacher evaluation.  Link is:

http://obsyourschools.blogspot.com/2012/01/good-classroom-observations-arent-easy.html

In my research that led to our book Power of Coaching–Teachers and Teaching, it was revealed that tapping into the priorities of teachers is of great significance in the teacher observation (and coaching) process.  In order of priority, teachers express these 7 priorities:

1. TRUST–as a teacher I have to be able to trust that your intentions are authentic and your confidentiality and sensitivity are are also genuine.

2.  COMPETENCE AS A COACH–are you skilled at the areas in which you are observing me in and also qualified to coach me in these areas?

3.  PROVIDE ME WITH FEEDBACK RESPECTFULLY AND WITH SPECIFICITY

4.  DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT INDIVIDUAL ABILITIES–don’t make the assumption that I should already know how to do what it is you are observing for.

5.  I MAY LEARN DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU–PLEASE CONSIDER MY LEARNING STYLE–teachers learn best from their coaches using their own learning styles.

6.  CHANGE WITHOUT MEANINGFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR INPUT IS CHANGE FOR THE SAKE OF CHANGE–allow me to help strategize and navigate the changes (we both) expect in my classroom practices.

7.  QUALITY OF OUR RELATIONSHIP IS IMPORTANT TO ME–above all else, the quality of our professional relationship underpins the work of your coaching and my developing as a novice or master teacher.

Understanding the needs and the values teacher place on the observation and coaching processes is paramount in our effectiveness as instructional leaders.  While I applaud our (mostly national) efforts to improve (and make more rigorous) teacher observations and evaluations, we should not do so in a reckless fashion.  It takes great skill to collect teaching quality data and provide meaningful feedback to teachers.

Thoughts?

JW

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