Tip for Improving a Professional Teacher Evaluation

Teacher evaluations can produce stress. However, focusing on the criteria on teacher evaluations forms can alleviate much of that while aiding professional growth toward becoming a more accomplished teacher. In this article I share a simple tip. Throughout the teaching year, good teachers create and innovate daily to produce results in their students. The federal and state governments set goals for us and we strive to meet those goals, and hopefully exceed them. Unfortunately, during the time of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the goal was, and I am being 100% frank here, to have EVERY child in America score proficient on the same standardized test given each year. I never agreed with this goal for education but I have always striven to make it happen. Now that Obama and Arne Duncan are in office, I understand they are out to revise NCLB rules and expectations. That may be a good thing, time will tell. I can say the most trivial of teaching materials made a world of difference in my evaluation: a plastic desktop cover.

But these are Federal and State issues. After that, there are the district level evaluations. Depending on the contract a teacher signs, these evaluations occur anywhere from 3 times a year to once every other year. I personally don’t know of any district that does these less frequently than that. These evaluations involve a Principal observing you and rating the teacher in several sets of criteria. If you fail in even one area, you must repeat the process. But they really aren’t that mysterious. Sample teacher evaluations are available to preview.

It is a nerve wracking time to say the least. Principals have mixed rapport with teachers through the process and in some cases it can make a teacher fearful of missing a jot or tittle and being sent to a “focus plan” and a year of stressful and debatable unnecessary scrutiny. Well, I have a simple suggestion that can improve your chances of your evaluator writing teacher evaluations that are favorable.

In every teacher contract there are copies of teacher evaluations forms. This explains line by line what the teacher will be rated on. The one for my district is rather extensive. It is based in part on the California standards for the teaching profession. The point here is that every teacher has access to this for at all times. What I started doing a while back was placing this form on my desk with a plastic cover over it. At the beginning and end of each teaching day, I use a grease pencil and “evaluate” myself on the form. This helps me to see where I might be lacking and where I can assume I am doing ok. I recommend this practice highly, it has helped me focus less worrying about the evaluation and more on delivering dynamite lesson plans as I should be. And don’t forget to search online for free online education.

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Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. I believe the best tool for engaging students is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are writings from my journey. Thanks for reading!