I told the P that I didn't want either of my children to have a particular teacher ever again. This teacher had been moved from 6th grade to middle school. My daughter had her in 6th grade, my son who is 4 years younger had her in middle school.
I explained the problems my daughter had (a struggling student) and the problems that my son was having (a National Honor Society student) with this same teacher.
Experience had not made her a better teacher. He assured me that my son would not have her ever again after that year. He never did.
What would you say, as a principal, to The Mom who resolutely tells you, " Ms. Carlton is a joke who should not be teaching anyone . She absolutely will NOT be my Carlie's Fourth Grade Teacher. I will not permit that!" ?
9/30/13 1:52 P
Unless (as I experienced as a child, in the 1970s) a teacher is an ex probation officer who gives a child a nervous breakdown (yes, one of my classmates actually had a nervous breakdown--went in her room, started to cry and couldn't stop) by constantly punishing the entire class for the misbehavior of one student in an attempt to utilize peer pressure to control the offending student, then life will go on and your kid will get a different teacher next year.
Dealing with different teachers is part of life and it's a good learning experience. Some are really good, some are really bad. Most are average...because most people are average. Children do not need to have the best of everything all the time and they shouldn't have it, either. That's not real life and it won't prepare them to be an adult with a difficult boss, a difficult colleague or anything else. An unpleasant or even bad teacher now and again also isn't going to ruin anyone's life (unless, like I said, it leads to a nervous breakdown or something).
A better question to ask is if your kid is a good kid (polite, respectful, does what s/he is told) and a good student (goes to school prepared to learn and not expecting to be entertained, does homework, completes assignments, listens, etc.). Your child will survive a bad teacher or two...no big deal. But, your child will not ever get a good education and grow into a productive member of society if s/he is lazy, unmotivated, lacks manners, feels entitled, thinks s/he needs to be constantly entertained in class or life, etc.
Fitness Minutes: (113,679)
9/30/13 11:07 A
adapting to different teaching styles is a good primer for the 'real world'. When you get a job, you are going to have to deal with different personalities; some you despise, some you love, some you are neutral about. Learning to respect differences will help you everywhere you go.
the best teachers I had were the ones who found a way to make learning fun (or at least not boring).
But when I was in school, there was no requirement to 'teach the test' in order for teachers to keep their jobs.
Some variables in all of this is we, as a society, are prone to believe that whether a child will have a delightful or dreadful future depends on who they are instructed by.
Some loudly and stridently maintain maintain that there are factors that shield poor or indifferent or callous teachers from being held accountable for how they perform in a classroom.
One mother recently told me - " I am a single parent and work hard. I do my job and I need to know that the teacher is doing his or her." She is struggling, also, with getting reliable information from her daughter and is finding that that neither the teachers or the principal is very helpful in informing her as to assignments and other " need to know" information. Even e-mails are not always responded to or are responded to well.
There are also parents who want to decide which teacher will and will NOT be allowed to invest in their son or daughter. There are principals and school boards who will cooperate readily with this. Others maintain that, " We do not honor such requests. We will do our best to place each child fairly and aoppropriately and we need to ask you to trust usi in this manner."
These are a few concerns that affect people when they consider the subject of Teaher Evaluating.
Fitness Minutes: (40)
1,068 9/30/13 8:10 A
I think teachers get blamed far too often for just about everything. None of them are perfect, for example some might be better than others at "controlling the classroom" and some might make an occasional mistake in their gradebook. If you have evidence to show this, most will just fix it and apologize for their error. Those who are floozies and come to work late, screw up their gradebook on a daily basis, or don't grade work at all, are a problem and should be fired.
I do feel for the ones that must face parents coming at them with both barrels when in many cases, the child's performance has to do with his/her own issues rather than being a direct reflection on the teacher (because little Johnny got all A's last year and this year he is not doing so hot!)
And granted there are some that are not even knowledgeable in their subjects and should NOT be trying to teach. But I still think most teachers are doing the job they are being paid to do. The end result of how well a child is educated depends on more factors than just the quality of the teacher, and some students learn well in spite of having a horrible teacher for the class.
To me, the ways that I would evaluate a teacher would be first and foremost, does he/she know the subject matter being taught and can he/she explain it and/or demonstrate it?
Second, I would evaluate on just doing the things that must be done: coming to school on time, getting work graded within a reasonable time, assigning work that is not just busy work, but is meant to either assist learning, or assess learning, and meeting time deadlines for tasks that need to be done.
Thirdly, they need to be respectful and kind to students, showing some concern for their well being and progress. With that said, teachers should be entitled to also receive respect back from their students and their parents, but they don't always get that.
While there are lots of other variables, for example, I love teachers that are lots of fun and interesting and I hate sitting through classes of teachers who bore me to death, droing on and on and try to impose their own political agenda on me, I accept those extreme and do not think either case makes one a great teacher or a bad teacher, even though I might have my preferences.
Fitness Minutes: (180,790)
57,608 9/30/13 4:18 A
This is a hard to answer question but teachers have to teach differently to the way that I was. That don't teach the subjects that I was. Lots are now left out.
Hard to say with out saying that they are bad or good.
"Blaming the student is a poor strategy when there is clear evidence that indicates that the instructor is deficient."
Yes, but blaming the teacher is a poor strategy when there is clear evidence that indicates that the student or parent is deficient. And that happens a lot more often.
You are your child's most important teacher. The child of an involved, intelligent, educated parent will be successful regardless of the teacher. But if you can't role-model the work, either because you don't pay attention to the assignments or because you never mastered the skills, it's your responsibility to get up to speed. A teacher can't do anything for a child who isn't properly supported at home.
I had some truly brilliant teachers and some truly awful teachers. My classmates who did poorly in the awful teachers' classes did poorly in the brilliant teachers' classes as well, and those who thrived under the brilliant teachers did just fine with the awful teachers. It depended about 95% on the parents.
9/28/13 11:34 P
Evaluating teachers is always an interesting topic. For me, the most important thing is how passionate is the teacher? Is the teacher biding their time until retirement or do they love what they do? It's pretty easy to figure out how passionate the teacher is. Sometimes younger teachers have more energy, newer ideas, and while the ideas might not all work, sometimes their passion and energy is helpful. One of kids I nanny for has an older female PE teacher during elementary school who made the kids jump rope every day all year long. That was her only plan. He HATED PE. In 4th grade he got a young male teacher filled with fun PE activities that made all the kids start to enjoy PE again. The new teacher organized all kinds of out of school activities for the kids, the kids and parents, the community, and just the parents. His passion and energy more than made up for his inexperience. On a personal level, something parents could do...observe in the classroom. If not possible talk to parents who do. There's no shame in having to work full time. Email the teacher, ask for a phone conference. Children shouldn't truly dislike going to school at a young age so a child who constantly complains may be bored, or feeling left behind by the materials. Teachers generally want their students to understand the material and do well whatever their age. Teachers should have a good knowledge base about the developmental level of children in their class. A teacher who doesn't know that a typically developing 5 year old boy fits the description of a child with ADHD may be a problem. Teachers should have control of their classroom without ruling it with fear and intimidation. I don't necessarily agree that the amount of homework can show what kind of teacher a child has. For example, I nanny for a family with 2 children. The older is now a high school junior who takes all accelerated or AP classes. Last year she had hours of homework every day even with the class time being well managed. The homework was necessary to get all the information required into the students hands. She also has hours of homework this year that again correlates to the amount of information necessary.
I'm not a parent but if the child develops an interest in the subject = excellent teacher if the child has an understanding of the subject = good if the child continues to struggle but asks questions = fair if the child is frustrated and doesn't even know what to ask = bad
if the parent doesn't even know where the child falls in the list above...fail the parents
Going to the Open House & conferences are great ideas too! Just remember that if that Open House is at the beginning of the school year, mine is before school starts, that depending on the teacher the room may not be decorated. If the teacher is putting up student made or Anchor charts, those will go up as needed.
My daughter's favorite teachers were always the ones that allowed her to create projects as opposed to written tests.
In my opinion, I have been honest about my children's behavior/attitude and my own efforts being involved with their homework after that I would and still do go from there in evaluating a teacher.
For the their core classes like math, science, reading etc... I watch for how much home work is assigned because an excessive amount tells me the teacher is relying too much on repetition rather than substance for example, teaching a concept in the classroom then assigning follow up home work to reinforce that concept is good as oppose to going over a concept and then assign a lot of home work so that the student may get the concept....or not. I know some folks who do that, not good in my opinion.
Also testing, teachers who only grade by testing is a red flag. As humans there are many aspects of us for evaluation; testing ( recall is what it really is) is good only if its part of the grade. Interviewing a student about subject matter to see if they can verbally communicate the concepts is also a good way but not the only way. Practical application such as math, have the students write about a trip to the grocery store or something to that effect and have them tell all the mathematical aspects going into a grocery store scenario. If testing is going to used a lot then lots of small tests or quizzes ought to be used, the pressure of a test that half your grade is stupid. Projects are a good way to measure a students knowledge but again, not for a big overbearing cosmic points.
I attend all the open houses and parent/ teacher conferences and when I do I notice classroom environment, a busy wall to showing of student work or concept posters is great! A sterile clean classroom is a red flag.
Lastly, talking to the teacher, I have learned that they in fact are people, too.
As a parent, I know what my child can and cannot do. I'm honest with myself. As a working parent I was unable to volunteer in the classroom. I relied on friends to tell me about the teachers. When my children were in elementary school several Moms were the lunch ladies. They really got to know the teachers so I would talk to them.
When I had questions or concerns I either called or emailed the teacher. I would go over work with my children. Did the teacher leave a comment on a worksheet?
As a teacher, I will tell parents that if they want to come in and observe, they need to let me know in advance. If they are wanting to observe because of their child's behavior, I tell them that they will behave differently with them there. It is best if they can observe through the window. It's always interesting to see the parent give the child the answer when the parent is there! Another way to see what's going on is to be in the hallway during a transition time. You can tell a lot from that.
Parents, please don't try to hold a conference with a teacher during drop off or dismissal! The teacher needs to be supervising all of the students and can't give you his/her full attention. Plus whatever needs to be said should be said in private. You can learn a lot from that conversation, how does the teacher conduct his/her self? Is she confident? Thorough? Or scattered? changes her mind?
Personal investment, as in volunteering in the classroom, does give you a reliable read on an instructor.
Fitness Minutes: (82,255)
9/28/13 9:38 A
I have found the best way to evaluate a teacher is to volunteer in the class on a regular basis or ask to observe the class for a couple of times in the week.
9/28/13 9:03 A
At my sons school it tells you on each teacher how long they have been teaching and what school they went to, we had a lot of trouble with a new teacher that thank god wasn't tenured yet. He didn't have control over the classroom and was letting a freshman girl torment him, he wasn't teaching the kids properly and he was deleting my sons grades when I questioned where the grades were but I'm the type of parent that printed grades and where non grades were and so I had proof that he deleted my sons grades. None of the kids in his class were passing and if so just barely and when it came time for MCAS they either didn't pass or just passed. There were so many complaints about this teacher he couldn't produce any of my sons tests to back up grades and I said before you tenure this guy you better think long and hard how many kids lives your going to ruin because my son was an A student in Science and became one that was barely passing and there were others in the same boat that year. I just found out they didn't tenure him he had way to many complaints against him from not only me but other parents. Kids were getting punished for failing grades or what he said were tests that weren't done or homework but it was him that wasn't putting grades in or caring enough to hold on to the paperwork. I hate to see anyone lose their job, but when your a teacher you have a responsibility to teach and if it had just been on isolated incident but when a whole class is barely passing and the background of most of the students is that they were A students then there is something wrong with the teacher. When I went to the school his freshman year they wouldn't of believed what this teacher did unless I had the proof with me, but because I did they sat their with egg on their faces as they always like to blame the student.
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