Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unions Still Mulling Harkin ESEA Bill

Unions Still Mulling Harkin ESEA Bill

Evaluations seem to be the hot topic in my state as well as on Capitol Hill lately. Is it useful to talk about evaluations without asking what happens to teachers who receive poor evaluations? Or without asking whom will be evaluating teachers and how highly trained are they in this area? I don't really think so. I guess it speaks to the fact that I've been in education for a while now that I'm thinking, "this won't really change things in my classroom." Unless my district and school supervisors take these evaluations very seriously and put a plan in place that goes far beyond what this bill says, things will continue to proceed as they are now. I guess the idea is that data doesn't lie; that having data will preclude principals from simply checking "satisfactory" for every teacher. I'm not sure, though. If teachers and administrators don't really trust the data, then it doesn't matter.

That said, I've been given the opportunity to do some evaluations/observations for one of my colleagues. I found out yesterday, and I've really been mulling over how to make my evaluations meaningful. Potentially, I think that teachers could evaluate and help one another in ways that administrators couldn't, since they are out of the classroom. I am sure that I'll be able to give some valid feedback, but if the person being evaluated is not asked to immediately act on that feedback, it will fall to the wayside. That's at least what happens to me. I've been observed, had a debrief session, nodded my head about the ways that I could improve my practice, and then not done anything about it - because I was too busy to actually make a change. It's only when I was asked to demonstrate something that I'd done differently as a result of my observation, that I actually changed my practice. But how can I pull that off with a colleague? I guess we'll see. I'm going to try.

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