I have been as disappointed as most in the way that much of the national education “reform” debate has revolved around punishing teachers for the student test scores that are affected by SO many factors beyond the work that we do.
Nonetheless, as my state pushes out a new teacher evaluation system, I have been cautiously optimistic. While other teachers have complained about the change and the level of initiative required of us now (compared to that expected of our evaluators/administrators), I have been pleased. I am more than willing to put forth more time and effort in return for more control over the process.
As the process is used now, each teacher is responsible for self-assessing her level of proficiency and then setting goals for growth during the year. At year-end, any elements of the evaluation that were not able to be observed by an administrator (or which we disagree with the opinion of the admin) are up to us to demonstrate. We are encouraged to provide all sorts of documentation to verify our claims.
Perhaps it’s just my style of teaching and organization, but I like the fact that I get to prove my own proficiency. I enjoy the fact that I am no longer vulnerable to the whims of sometimes capricious administrators who can hold grudges and be unprofessional. I don’t feel the need to make that 2-3 hours a year of observations capture the very best of my ability, because I can use other documentation to prove my worth.
I am also not being judged on my students’ proficiency (yet), which allows me to take risks in my own professional development. So, for now, I’ll enjoy this new system and the power/responsibility that it brings.
How is your school system’s evaluation system? Fair? Ridiculous?