Friday, March 13, 2009

Yearly Teacher Evaluation Day Has Arrived!

Today I signed my yearly teacher evaluation.

For those of you who are from states other than North Dakota, the requirement for teacher evaluation is one written evaluation per year for each teacher who has been teaching more than 3 years (hmmm. I should check that, maybe it is 2 or 5). Anyway, in my case, it is one per year as this is my fourteenth year.

I do not like Yearly Teacher Evaluation Day. I never have. I do not like this one little snapshot of all of the effort and work I put into my job on a daily and monthly and yearly basis. Over the years, I have had many different forms used on me.

Sometimes I was asked to evaluate myself; sometimes I was not.

Sometimes I was shown the sheet ahead of time; sometimes I was not.

Sometimes I was told when the principal would be visiting; sometimes it was just a drop-in.

None of those factors contribute to my liking or disliking being evaluated. Each form is what it is. Each visit is what it is. What I do not like about teacher evaluations is the tiny window of what I do and what I am that it actually evaluates. Most of the time the evaluation is based on one or two visits to my classroom. One time it was based on NO visits to my classroom. Even if you have administration who stop in 6, 7, or 10 times a year to watch and evaluate, they are still getting such a tiny, tiny picture of what you do, who you are, what you believe in, what you expect, how you assess it, etc. etc. etc.

Then it gets put in your personnel file where it is free for public inspection. In the fourteen years that I have been teaching, only two people have asked to see my file. For the most part it just sits in there waiting for me to finally decide to apply at another school, so it can 'effectively' show my next employer what a good teacher I am or am not.

I wish it were different. I wish the evaluation showcased my personal successes and failures. I wish it offered me the opportunity to list my strengths and weaknesses. I wish it then had a suggestion box to help me improve. Would that make me happy? Probably not.

I have only gotten sound improvement advice a few times in my career from my administration. I get some sound advice from my colleagues or from classes I take and books that I read. I have gotten some good suggestions and advice from parents. The best advice I have gotten has always been from my students themselves. They paint the clearest picture of who I am and what I do. They say it best. They know me and my strengths and my weaknesses. They know.

Should my students do my evaluation? Maybe. Part of me rejoices in the idea; part of me shudders! :)

I will keep looking for the answer. For now, here is the 2009 evaluation of Danielle Mickelson (High School English) dated January 24, 2009. (I just now noticed the date. What the heck?!)

Choices for the first 11 statement about my teaching were Y(yes), N(no), or NA(not applicable)

1. Clearly states lesson objectives. Answer on form: Y

2. This teacher speaks clearly. Y

3. This teacher explains things clearly. Y

4. This teacher is stimulating and interesting to listen to. Y

5. Presents material in an organized manner. Y

6. This teacher sets high expectations for students. Y

7. This teacher seems to understand the subject matter. Y

8. This teacher encourages participation. Y

9. This teacher has a sub-folder accessible. Y

10. This teacher uses a variety of instructional methods. Y

11. This teacher is available for students before and after school if assistance is needed. Y

12. This teacher's explanations are: a. ___too technical b.____too simplified c._X_ satisfactory

13. Time spent on lecturing: a.___too much b.__too little c._X_ satisfactory

14. Student time on task: a._X_ Satisfactory b.___ Needs Improvement

Overall Evaluation Statement:

Mrs. Mickelson has done an outstanding job in the use of her "word wall," which is something that all our high school teachers are required to do. Mrs. Mickelson makes use of her word wall in her classes, which makes it valid for her students, rather than just having a bunch of words up in her classroom.

Mrs. Mickelson is active in the state and has worked on both state standards for English and also has worked on the North Dakota State Assessment. Mrs. Mickelson has a very firm grasp of the State Standards and Benchmarks, and uses them on a daily basis for her classroom instruction.

I would encourage Mrs. Mickelson to continue to stress the importance of the standards to her students, and to hold students up to a very high standard in the learning of these standards. I would also encourage Mrs. Mickelson to continue to hold students accountable for staying on task for the whole period, and make sure students are engaging in appropriate conversations that deal directly with the subject matter.

Mrs. Mickelson is very knowledgeable in her subject matter and has a lot to offer the students of Rolla High School. Mrs. Mickelson does a very good job of accommodating for students with disabilities as well as accommodating for the different learning styles of her students. She is the first one to admit when something doesn't go as well as she would have liked, but that doesn't discourage her from expanding the ways in which she presents material to her students.

Signed by me and my principal.

How do I feel about my evaluation? It is an evaluation. Does it accurately evaluate the kind of teacher I am? Yes, in the tiny little window that it looked through.


  1. This post makes me see how much we have in common.

  2. I am helping a math teacher with her English skills, she is fearful of her upcoming evaluation because English is her second language. Your post will help me ease her pain and hopefully improve her English skills. Thank you for your candid post.

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