Despite ongoing teacher training programs and systems, the expectations for closing the achievement gap is still highly uncertain. The time has come to allow students to grade their own teachers, not as a negative activity that will result in teacher firing, but as a positive activity that will provide teachers with the information needed to reach excellence in teaching. Grading teachers should become the norm.
The Questionnaire Strategy for Teacher Evaluation
The questionnaire is an effective tool for evaluating teacher’s performance. When teachers understand what students expect of them, they can better prepare lesson plans and projects that will meet the needs of every student. Not only will this method help discover the expectations of students, but it will establish a evaluation system that will uncover the areas of ineffectiveness in teacher performance and execution.
The questionnaire should be a series of questions designed to pinpoint the weak areas in a teacher’s performance in order to eliminate those weaknesses. The questions should be a result of a collaborate
effort based on the perspectives of high achieving students, teachers and administration. The questions should target such areas as passion, presentation, competence in subject knowledge, assessment style, quality and quantity of homework, and student/teacher engagement.
Before a teacher can achieve mastery in any area, he or she must have a passion for teaching as well as a great desire for seeing her students excel. Teachers must be so excited about changing the lives of their students that even the most disruptive students cannot destroy their joy and expectation for excellence.
Boring and uncreative lesson plans and presentations cannot capture and keep the focus of today’s students. Teachers must take advantage of all the tools in their arsenal, including computers, videos, virtual reality technology, smart boards, creative projects, (indoors and outdoors), field trips as well as home projects requiring parental involvement.
One of the purposes of the questionnaire is to eradicate any incompetence discovered in teacher knowledge, performance and execution. An incompetent teacher cannot provide a quality education that will inspire students toward high achievement.
Teachers must know how to assess students in order to find out the areas of knowledge in which students are struggling. Who would know this better than the student?
Quality and quality of independent work
This includes seatwork and homework. Teachers must provide work that will challenge students to think and perform beyond what they would normally do. This work doesn’t have to be sheet work only. It can involve collaborative roll play, schemes, student presentations and group projects. Implementing variety is highly creative and exciting.
Teachers should be able to positively connect with students and inspire them to appreciate information and learning. The classroom should be a place where students love to come and discover new worlds of knowledge and experience. Every student should know that their teacher really cares about the quality of their education and is willing to go the extra mile at any time, if need be.
Designing a questionnaire that targets these areas will help accelerate a classroom teacher’s growth toward greatness. Questionnaires should be given at least three times a year: At the end of the first month of the first semester and last semester, and at the end of the school year. In this way, teachers will be able to measure their performance and growth.
Benefits of Allowing Teacher Assessments
Allowing students to grade teachers will result in several benefits for teachers, including improved performance, quality and productivity. But teachers must be willing to drop their guards and let students help them to achieve excellence in their profession. Many teachers may resist this highly effective strategy out of fear or lack of trust in student judgment.
However, because the questionnaire is a tool designed by a panel of students, teachers and administrators, the questions should be fair and accurate. In addition, the results of the assessment will not result in job loss. It is designed to promote teacher competence.
Teachers who desire to participate must let go of fear and trust the process. Teachers who submit to this process will gain substantial knowledge regarding their teaching effectiveness and will be able to master weaknesses within their classroom performance. Such teachers will be more contagious when it comes to preparing students for greatness in an increasingly complex world.