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
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. 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.
-article updated on September 2016