Week 3 Discussion

Monica Tan
(2 replies)
7/29/2011 4:37 PM - Edited(7/29/2011 5:02 PM)
Indeed, one of the key lessons coming out of the research is that financial incentives alone are probably not enough to dramatically change the teacher-talent pool or improve student learning. Studies have found that teachers' working conditions— including school principals' leadership, teachers' opportunities for advancement, the availability of materials and resources, student behavior and discipline, and the chance for teachers to influence decisions and work with others — are strongly linked to satisfaction and turnover(2007, p. 5).
I was the teacher PDAS liaison on my previous campus. I evaluate a teacher by the basic standards of classroom management, subject knowledge, teacher-student relationship, creativity of information presentation and how well students score on a state test. But, some of my opinions on teacher evaluation changed this last year. One of the most effective (academically speaking) teacher in the 5th grade was seriously old-school fierce. I do not respect her teaching style, nor do I think I can create the right kind of energy to emulate it. I can testify to her classroom management skills, the higher performance of her students and her interest in presenting material using technology. From these three factors alone she would deserve high merit pay. Yet, if you joined me in her room you would shocked at her methods. The downtown administration does not like her, but she is still around because she has a high performing class in a non-performing school. So, do the rest of us adopt her "discipline" style to achieve the appropriate level of discipline to truly teach in a "serious" inner-city school? Where, if you look at the number of referrals written a day, it would be obvious that discipline is an out-of-control issue on campus.
If she is the gold standard for performance, do I judge the rest of the teachers by her example? For me this is the most difficult question to answer when considering evaluating teachers that are working on our countries most difficult campuses. Most of what I learned previously while teaching does not work here. The students respect authority if you prove you deserve it; and kindness does not increase their respect for you although their perception of fairness does. Gaining their trust and their respect is tantamount to them learning anything for you that year. Therefore at my school, I would evaluate a teacher's ability to gain a solid relationship with his/her class. The speediness in which this occurs directly affects the amount of learning there will be in that classroom for that school year. I have seen too many teachers come from other schools and drop out of our school at some point during the year, most within the first 2 months. We know if they are going to make it after the first couple of weeks. There is no way for a teacher to be successful on my campus unless they can manage their classroom.
Practically speaking, I think campus administrators need to stop by classrooms at all different times of the day.
I do believe student growth needs to be an aspect of teacher evaluation. I just wish those in charge to creating these guidelines would spend time on my campus and get a real look at what we are working to overcome. I am concerned that if the inner-city school districts struggles are not considered, then the school teachers that are working on my campus because they really want to help and love our students are going to feel misunderstood and defeated.
Olson, L. (2007). Teacher-Pay Experiments Mounting Amid Debate. Education Week. 27(6), 1-14.


Ing Mu
(1 reply)
(New)7/30/2011 4:12 AM
Monica, I find your story about the "old-school" style teacher very fascinating. According to all the latest teaching methods we've learned through the university research her methods does not work, but according to the test scores she could be identified as the best teacher. So, should progress of education be judged on test scores or should it be based more on the learning experiences of students? This tells me that evaluation system is not a straight forward black and white process. I think it is difficult to evaluate based on an objective checklist because some teachers are very effective using non-conventional methods to meet the need of the campus. As educators, we should always keep in mind to be flexible and place student learning as the focus.