Teacher Evaluations are essentials tool to support, develop and retain effective educators. Great teachers develop their skills not by chance but from well-developed systems that measure current abilities and promote growth through professional development, self-reflection, measurable goals and constructive feedback. Therefore, teachers who are given the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and skill set are most likely to promote student growth and learning. Nevertheless, many educators, especially in my school in Thailand, often believe the current evaluation systems are inconsistent and unbalanced. While some teachers are rewarded, others face harsh consequences. According to the National Education Association, the current systems serve three main functions;
1 )measure teacher effectiveness
2) categorize and rank teachers
3) reward effectiveness
4) fire those at the bottom
However, this approach does not acknowledge the challenges faced by teachers and schools. Instead, I feel teachers are often at the mercy of the school leaders. In order to determine the impact of teacher evaluation systems, it is important to analyse the various systems that are currently implemented in my school in Thailand.
At my current school, the Thai Admin conducts a formal teacher evaluation once a semester. They would come into my class and inform me on how they will be observing my class. They would watch the whole lesson and makes their evaluations based on a school rubric provided by the private school, similar to this part-3-2-hod-teachers-yearly-evaluation.
There are five categories in which I am evaluated as a teacher. The first one is Planning, Preparation, Communication, Instruction, and Classroom Management. The Thai Admin completes the evaluations using a scale from 1-5 along with additional comments to be made by the observer for each section. This evaluation is conducted by any member of the Thai Admin and then is given to the teacher in a private meeting with the observer to reflect on the observation and any feedback they wish to give. The teacher can read the document and then sign at the end to say they have seen observed. This document is then given to the principal to review and keep, we do not get an extra copy of this document.
My partner is currently working in an international school and is currently evaluated a little differently than my private school in Thailand. She was given the opportunity to self-evaluate using a school rubric teacher-rubric. The rubric included five teacher standards;
1. The teacher cultivates a positive relationship with students.
2. The teacher uses effective instructional strategies that promote learning.
3. The teacher uses effective assessment strategies and data to monitor and improve student learning.
4. The teacher collaborates and interacts professionally with members of the school community.
5. The teacher engages in professional development opportunity.
My partner informed me on how the principal also filled out the same evaluation on her. A meeting would then be conducted between herself and the principal where they would discuss and compare their reflection and evaluations. After comparing their evaluations and reflections on what could be improved/developed, the principal and the teacher would then reach an agreement for a future plan. A teacher’s plan will then be made showing her plan and the steps necessary to complete and reach her goals as a teacher.
Although both evaluation rubrics involve similar elements for teachers, I felt the first rubric was more specific than the second rubric from my partner’s school. In my opinion, I feel both rubrics have important elements for evaluating teachers. However, I like how the second teacher evaluation was conducted and described. I feel like self-reflection and having an evaluation for self-development is very important. I feel it makes the teacher feel more valued rather than being inspected for what’s good or bad. Having the teacher and principal generate a goal plan together is I feel is vital for teachers to work on their performance and hone their skills and consider how to grow and self-develop.
Overall, teacher evaluation is important since it holds school, districts and teachers accountable. I sense schools in Thailand should implement an evaluation system that is researched based in order to provide valid and reliable outcomes. These outcomes include more effective and self-reflective teachers, like the evaluation within my partner’s school. Above all, we need to place the focus back on developing students who can problem-solve, persevere, think critically, collaborate and treat others with respect. As any improvements made can only help benefit our students for the 21st Century.