Are Teacher Evaluations a Waste of Time?
The part of the school year that I absolutely without a doubt loathe is evaluation time. It seems as if my anticipation of it every year gets worse and worse. I’m not saying that I don’t need to be evaluated, but when I find out who is evaluating me is when I always tend to look and….SMH.
During my 15 years of experience I have had all kinds of evaluations by different people but recently I have noticed that the people doing the evaluating have less experience than I do. I always think to myself, “How can a teacher who has only taught 3 or 4 years evaluate a teacher who has been teaching 3 times as long as she has been teaching?” I’m not saying that you can’t learn some things from a person that has less experience than you do, but assessing veteran teacher is a horse of another color.
For example, I have a friend who has been teaching for 4 years and she wanted to move out of the classroom into a specialist position. She would talk about the position and I would listen but one day I told her that if she moved into the position that she would never get any respect from veteran teachers no matter how hard she tried. She looked at me and said, ” All I want to do is help them.” I asked, “How are you going to help someone when you have only taught 1 grade level and have zero experience teaching a testing grade level?” She looked kind of confused as if what I was telling her shouldn’t matter.
Well, a few weeks after our conversation she told me that a teacher that she knew had moved into an assistant principal position only after 5 years of teaching and the teachers at the school don’t listen to her and will not do anything that she asks them to do. I looked at her and said, “I told you.” I also told her that I don’t want her to experience that because I’ve seen teachers make their specialist’s life miserable and it was really nothing that they could do about it because they lacked the experience to deal with the teacher.
I used to think that evaluations were meaningful but I’ve gotten to the point where they don’t have any value. I look at them as a formality because I never get an evaluator who tries to keep up with the educational trends in mathematics, has taught my grade level, or has taught math. If my memory serves me correctly I have only had 1 principal (Mrs. Fran Keal) who had taught math and actually had a degree in mathematics. Working under Mrs. Keal was one of my best years because we could dialogue about mathematics and instructional strategies. Now the evaluation process in my opinion has become more about pleasing your evaluator and using the instructional strategies that he/she has recommended and less about using instructional strategies that are actually needed to meet the needs of your students.
I know that all jobs come with an evaluation but when it comes to the person doing the evaluating many principals really need examine their staff and match evaluator and evaluatee appropriately.