Thursday, October 11, 2012

Teacher Assessment and Evaluation: The Mentoring Aspect

Can any teacher be categorized in only
five, simplistic ratings?

As we talk about mentoring students and creating equitable learning environments, how does a teacher assessment and evaluation affect a teacher’s ability to respond to minorities?

Glad you asked. Because when a teacher assessment and evaluation is done the right way—I repeat, when it is done the right way—it is an opportunity for teachers to spot areas to improve. Of course that’s not how evaluations are being handled; right now, they are scary tests that depend on someone else’s performance.

Sad experience has taught us how not to perform evaluations. So now let’s look at how teacher assessment and evaluation can actually make a better experience for everyone involved.

In South Carolina, Graig Meyer is director of the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate group. He has several Equity and Innovation videos on PD 360 that show how he and his team are there for minority students, giving them a chance at life after high school. And the program is phenomenally successful—100% of students who graduate through the BRMA program go on to post-secondary studies.

If a student makes one grade below a B, the student gets tutoring. Now imagine that your principal or coach comes to you with a few areas noted in your observation/evaluation and said, “I can see that you have what it takes, and you just need some training in these areas. So here’s what we’re going to do….” Unheard of, isn’t it? And yet the ramifications would be immense! If this same model helps 100% of students become college and career ready, then it would certainly have a similar effect on teachers.

If we use teacher assessments and evaluations to actually train our teachers instead of just to scare the wits out of them, then teachers will ask to be observed. They’ll ask for another evaluation. They’ll have the tools they need to do what they love to do best: help students learn.

We suffer under the delusion of treating our teachers like worker bees and expect them to turn around and treat their students with individualized attention. Teacher evaluations and assessments are meant to be classrooms rather than courtrooms. When our teachers become more effective, we will be able to see 100% of students become college and career ready.

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