Wave of the Future? Parent and Student Teacher Evals

I hear this is coming:

Teachers’ jobs will hang, at least in part, not only on administrator evaluations but also on student and parent evaluations.

Hold on! Think about it for just a moment. Think of all the times when you had to hold the line on a grade or behavioral issue. Think of the student (or parent) who got so angry at you that they were willing to risk their time and dignity to attack you in order to change your mind.

Think about these people holding the keys to your employment.

Most of the time, parents can only know what goes on in my classroom through the lens of what students tell them, and we all know that students who are struggling tell a very different version of the story than the one we tell as teachers. Normally the healthy negotiation process sorts this all out (though sometimes it doesn’t; every teacher has searing memories of those parents who refuse to believe the teacher and who even scream and yell to get things their way).

By giving students and parents this type of power, teachers may end up with the last leg kicked out from under them. As long as we are required to give grades and citizenship marks, there will be unhappy students and parents. I can’t even imagine how things will change when these kids and their folks gain the power over our employment and pay.

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3 thoughts on “Wave of the Future? Parent and Student Teacher Evals

  1. You are right, that is a very real possibility. I also have a concern about students that figure out they control the keys to your employment by throwing the test on purpose.
    Although it would be nerve racking, it would be great to invite the community into the classroom more. Instead of constantly justifying grades and discipline with documentation, which has increased so much just to cover yourself, an open classroom could eleviate this somewhat. It would offer more evidence of what your classroom is like. Also, getting administrators like the principal, supt., and even the school board into your classroom would be nice. In addition, having these people in your classroom, and involving them in the lesson, could serve to make you a better teacher through co-teaching (impromptu or planned), and feedback from them on new things to try.

    • Yes! In the afternoons, I teach in a juvenile corrections classroom, all surrounded by glass, adults in and out. It is very empowering to have such an open classroom, and it surely makes my whole process transparent. I’d be willing to have parents and administrators visit my conventional classroom any time. I wish they would!

  2. Yep, just more reason I am relishing not being in the classroom this year. Even though I miss working with students and planning creative lessons, I just can’t stomach how teachers are currently so villified. It seems everyone knows how to teach except teachers! I can’t imagine students or parents having a role in evaluation, unless anonymous evaluations were collected, which in turn could be utilized by an administator or mentor. Curriculums will be even more dumbed-down because offense will be taken to whatever is being taught. Scripted lessons will become more and more the norm if everyone keeps telling us how to do our job!!!!

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