How Would Your Students Evaluate Your Teaching?

When I was in my school district, I was evaluated twice annually. Is that enough to identify areas of improvement, provide targeted professional development & feedback, and measure the impact on student achievement? Absolutely not.

Don’t wait (or hope) for administration to tell you how you are doing or ways to improve. Rather, get the feedback you need, as a teacher, by using the single most valuable resource in your class: the student. Students know when they are learning, engaged, and in a productive learning environment. About four times throughout the academic year I ask my students to evaluate me on a series of criteria: curriculum, instruction, learning environment, teacher professionalism, and teacher support. I do this for every class.

Sometimes I create a quantitative analysis from the students’ evaluation of me, but, most of the time, I can just look at the data/comments to get a feel as to how to improve. Next, I jot down my thoughts and steps that I will take to improve. It is the only way I can remember it after a few weeks, plus it provides a record (baseline) that I can measure my progress.

Incorporating regular, student formative assessments of your teaching may be a little unnerving at first, but, with practice and over time, these assessments become routine. Here are a couple of tips before implementing this:

  • Give a word about how you take this serious, using this data/info to change your practice.
  • Ask for constructive feedback, reinforcing the idea that they should not hold back;
  • Tell students not to write their names on the evaluations;
  • Have a student collect the surveys in a manila folder;
  • Avoid giving this right after doing a REALLY FUN activity; this defeats the point.

Once you collect your student evaluations, identify one to two items you can improve on. Take my example. In one of my reviews, students ranked me lower than I would like in “listening to their needs.” The problem is that, I start class immediately at the bell, jumping quickly into instruction.  These quick starts lead to little time for 1-1 student interactions where I may be able to listen to their needs. This feedback is not to say I don’t address individual student needs, but it is an area that I can work on.

The next step is to take remedial action after the problem was identified.  In my case, I implemented a question/concern box (more about this in Road to Teaching). This new intervention allows students to put their questions (not related to curriculum or the day’s objective), concerns, and comments in the box. In turn, I reply to the students within 24 hours, via handwritten note or call home.

Finally, it is important to measure the outcomes of your efforts.  In my example, the box intervention was effective.  It provided an additional avenue for me to address students’ needs without taking away instructional time. From the students’ perspective, they reported positive improvements in the follow-up student evaluation.

Below is a sample student evaluation of teacher effectiveness.

Student Evaluation of Teacher Effectiveness

Please read

The following is an assessment to help me evaluate my overall teaching performance. Your honest opinion is appreciated, and your comments will not influence your grade. The responses are anonymous. Don’t write your name on this!

Please use the following scale as you answer each question:

1 Poor
2 Rarely
3 Sometimes
4 Usually
5 Always

_____ 1. The teacher let students know what was expected of them.

_____ 2. The teacher was well prepared for each class.

_____ 3. The teacher was accepting and supporting of students.

_____ 4. The teacher covered the material at an appropriate pace.

_____ 5. The teacher showed patience when dealing with students.

_____ 6. The teacher helped make the material interesting by relating it to things I know.

_____ 7. The teacher used visuals such as whiteboard, maps, handouts, and presentation stations.

_____ 8. The teacher handled student discipline fairly.

_____ 9. The teacher recognized which students did not understand the material and reviewed as needed.

_____ 10. The teacher appeared to be genuinely concerned about students and their success in class.

_____ 11. The teacher gave clear directions.

_____ 12. The teacher knew the subject matter well.

_____ 13. The teacher presented a professional appearance and behavior.


Tell me about the lesson where you learned the most and why you think so. 


Tell me any areas that you believe I need to work on and why. 


Other comments/suggestions.

-article updated on September 2016

Ace Your Teacher Interview: 12 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

by Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D. / Guest Blogger

Most teacher candidates go through many interviews before they eventually get a job offer.  One major reason for the high number of interviews is that most prospective teachers typically make several common mistakes.  These are the blunders that happen in so many interviews that they “contaminate” any chance of getting hired.

Yet, all of these typical and common mistakes have one thing in common – they can all be controlled by you.  Each of these interview mistakes is under your control, your supervision, and your influence.  You can choose to ignore these miscues or you can chose to do your “homework” and prevent any one of these from sneaking its way into a job interview.

  • If you spend any time on your cell phone in the waiting area or during an interview you will be sending a powerful message to the interviewer: my business is more important than your business.
  • One recent report showed that 50 percent of job candidates were tardy for their interviews.  If you really want the job, then you’ll really be on time.
  • Candidates who glance around the room, avoid the eyes of the interviewer, or stare at the aquarium behind the principal’s desk are seen as insecure, unsure, and unconnected.
  • Don’t “over-talk” your answers!  Most professional interviewers suggest that the ideal answer to a question should be no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than two minutes.
  • Can you believe that, in order to make a point, some teacher candidates actually argue with the interviewer?  One word: don’t!
  • Many teacher candidates neglect to respond to the one question always in the mind of every principal: How will this person make my job easier?  The question will never be asked out loud, but you must always answer it.
  • Some people try to compensate for the stress of an interview by being arrogant or haughty.  It’s one thing to be confident; quite another to be arrogant.  Be the former, not the latter.
  • Many professional interviewers believe that asking questions in an interview is more important than answering them.  Don’t make the fatal mistake, when asked if you have any questions, of saying, “No, not really.  I think we’ve covered pretty much everything.”
  • Conduct some research on the school or district (many will not).  What is their overall philosophy?  Are test scores going up or down?  What are their long-range goals? Get to know them and they, very likely, will want to get to know you.
  • Slouch in your chair, fold your arms across your chest, fiddle with your car keys, never smile, never make eye contact and the principal knows a lot about you (unfortunately, it’s all negative) without even listening to your responses.
  • An interview is a conversation.  If you spend too much time focused on what you want to say and not enough time on listening to what the interviewer is saying then you’ll be involved in a non-productive exchange.  
  • Principals want to know if you have a detailed roadmap of where you would like to be in the future.  If all you want is a job, then you’ll be like thousands of other teacher candidates – always looking for one.

Finally, remember this harsh reality: The interviewer is not interested in hiring you.  He or she is interested in hiring the best-qualified individual for the position.  In short, YOU are not the commodity.  Best advice: Assist the principal by keeping the focus off you and directly on the positive contributions you can make to the welfare of the school. 

Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D. is professor of education at York College of Pennsylvania.  An educator for more than four decades, he is an award-winning author of over 150 books.  He also maintains a blog ( where prospective teachers can obtain helpful interview tips, resources and information.

Take the Leap: Go Ahead with Those Crazy Ideas.

I taught Business and Personal Law to juniors and seniors.  We were learning the sources of law.  After polling the students regarding their comfort level with understanding these sources of law, I realized most of the students were vague about 1-2 of these sources.  Based on this formative assessment, I had to adjust my instructional approach and began to brainstorm ideas to accomplish this.  A crazy idea popped in my head 

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Applying for a Teacher Position in an Unfamiliar School? Be Prepared.

If offered an interview at an unfamiliar school understand that you are already at a disadvantage. You may not be as knowledgeable about the school as another job candidate that student taught there. In my book, Road to Teaching, I offer strategies to maximize your knowledge of the community, school, and, most importantly, the students before heading into your interview. Acknowledging that time is of the essence, here are quick tips to better prepare for your interview...

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School Administrators Turn to Behavior-Based Interview Questions

I attended a workshop that taught school administrators how to use behavior-based interview (BBI) question to hire quality teachers.  The basic idea behind BBI is that the candidate’s past behavior will be the best indicator for future behavior.  BBI has been around for years, but used primarily in business.

A BBI question may start something like...

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Teaching with Learning Objectives

It’s a simple premise:  our students should know what they are learning and why.  The best way to accomplish this is through having learning objectives for every lesson.  Yet, teachers tend to make some common mistake around learning objectives.  Knowing these common mistakes will help you maximize your practice of using learning objectives...

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