Friday, September 26, 2008

Show 9 - Evaluating Teachers

During this show, we discussed the process of evaluating teachers. There were many questions about this topic. How are teachers evaluated and does the process work? What is the purpose of evaluation and is it the same for all teachers in each school? Does teacher evaluation improve teaching and learning for students? Should the process be changed and if so, how can it be changed?

Thank you to Ginger Lewman and Shannon Smith for joining us in our skype call. Thank you also to the folks in our chat room. Unfortunately, our chat log was not saved due to a glitch in the system.

The audio for the show can be found here.

Thanks to Peggy George, we have a partial chat archive:
[Cathyjo] Im just a mentor--not an eval.
[sharon_elin] Refining our teaching increases our time management, too
User learner101 has logged out.
[sharon_elin] Ineffective teachers create more (meaningless) work for
themselves
[BethH] Yes, time is an issue but we all have the SAME amount of
time. Some are willing to spend time on our profession - others are
not. Can you IMAGINE a physician saying, "I don't have time to learn?"
[GingerTPLC] Does tenure protect the ability to NOT continue to learn?
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[Cathyjo] The admin @GingerTPLC are dcmenting everything that she is
doing/not doing in accordnace w/ her improvement plan
[PeggyG] time becomes an issue when it doesn't feel like it is being
used well on priority issues-if working on your goals is meaningful,
time isn't used as an excuse. Look at the goals.
[Cathyjo] Im just sort of a coach
[bcdtech/Maureen] @beth I agree...but unless admin says you have to
do , many will not
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[sharon_elin] GingerTPLC, I do think unions are enabling & protecting
bad teachers.
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[sharon_elin] I know that's not a popular opinion
[GingerTPLC] @CathyJo: is she that bad? or are they just trying to
retire her?
[MariaK] We'd like some other voices in this conversation - who can
we bring in - volunteers?
[BethH] GREAT article by Clay Shirsky about the issue of TIME. http://
www.herecomeseverybody.org/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html
[PeggyG] that's such an important point, Maria. It's not about
counting hours working on something--it's about what you are learning
and how you are changing your practices to meet student needs
[GingerTPLC] @sharon: I signed in to this job knowing I had no tenure
protection here and I'm ok with that. If I rely on tenure to keep my
job, I need to leave that job!
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[sharon_elin] amen
[jansmith] Now, we've all been in situations where the perspective of
others don't reflect fairly. I see my union on my side. If I suck, my
admin has the power to get rid of me
[Lisa Parisi] Ginger...when will you make too much money to be kept
in your job?
[mrshbryson] We don't have tenure where I work. We also don't join
unions either.
[Lisa Parisi] One more time...anyone want in to the skype conversation?
[mrshbryson] having said that, rarely does a teacher NOT get a
contract renewal.
[GingerTPLC] @Lisa: now. That's happening now. But again, if tenure
is what's protecting me, then I need to leave that job. If they don't
want to pay me what I'm worth, they will lose me.
[jansmith] NO skype, I'm in my pj's
[Lisa Parisi] No video jan

[derrallg] glad I could finally listen in to this great group
[Cathyjo] hey derrall
[derrallg] hi Cathy
[Lisa Parisi] Glad you made it. Long time no speak.
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[GingerTPLC] g'morning Derrall!
[Lisa Parisi] Hello Paul.
[bcdtech/Maureen] For my computer classes- my admin has no clue-
cannot help with goal setting. I think that may be true for other
disciplines- does your admin know how to teach reading/math/etc..?
[loonyhiker] i was told many times to stop doing all that i do becuz
i made the others look bad
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[PeggyG] I think over achiever implies that you are a person that
goes above and beyond what is "expected"
[bcdtech/Maureen] I'm not an "over-achiever" I just get told that I
don't have a life.
[sharon_elin] overachievers raise the bar and not everyone wants to rise
[Lisa Parisi] Maureen...aren't good practices, good practices
regardless of the skill being taught

[derrallg] glad I could finally listen in to this great group
[Cathyjo] hey derrall
[derrallg] hi Cathy
[Lisa Parisi] Glad you made it. Long time no speak.
User paulh has entered this room.
[GingerTPLC] g'morning Derrall!
[Lisa Parisi] Hello Paul.
[bcdtech/Maureen] For my computer classes- my admin has no clue-
cannot help with goal setting. I think that may be true for other
disciplines- does your admin know how to teach reading/math/etc..?
[loonyhiker] i was told many times to stop doing all that i do becuz
i made the others look bad
User paulh has logged out.
[PeggyG] I think over achiever implies that you are a person that
goes above and beyond what is "expected"
[bcdtech/Maureen] I'm not an "over-achiever" I just get told that I
don't have a life.
[sharon_elin] overachievers raise the bar and not everyone wants to rise
[Lisa Parisi] Maureen...aren't good practices, good practices
regardless of the skill being taught
[derrallg] @lisap glad my real life is finally leaving room for PD
[derrallg] @ginger you survived the hotel?
[GingerTPLC] @derrall, I did! Was a fun time!!
[Cathyjo] @derrall something has to give right?
[jansmith] @loonyhiker that can really be alienating
[bcdtech/Maureen] @lisa How does admin know "best practices" in
different subject areas? I'm talking about specifics.
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[Lisa Parisi] I mean for learning Maureen.
[loonyhiker] @jan made me angry enuf to NOT stop doing what i was doing
[Lisa Parisi] For teaching.
[sharon_elin] That's why peer coaching is useful as content-specific
feedback
[derrallg] @cathy yeah couldn't hold back from connecting anymore
with friends
[Lisa Parisi] Hello Joel
[PeggyG] @Lisa-I agree with you-good instructional practices are not
unique to the content/subject matter. I'm not an expert in band or
art but I know how to evaluate whether their teaching practices are
effective in student learning
[Lisa Parisi] Yes, Peggy. That's what I mean
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[jansmith] @loonyhiker you go! Your energy can bring others along--
they can draft on you.
[paulh] Hi guys
[jansmith] Hi paul!
[bcdtech/Maureen] @peggy@lisa I guess I mean- when I am setting goals
for computer classes- other than the general ISTE type guidelines,
how can I get help from someone who does not use tech?
[paulh] Hi
[PeggyG] slightly off topic but related-it always bothered me that
PE, band, art, music specialists thought learning about the math or
reading curriculum/standards were not important to them.
[Lisa Parisi] Maureen..your admin should know how to get you support
in that area
[Cathyjo] My husband is an admin too--so I get that prespective too
[sharon_elin] one of the solutions is peer pressure -- from
professional learning communities

1 comment:

Peggy said...

The conversation this week was filled with questions and reflections on lots of things related to teacher evaluations, teacher observations and whether they actually improve teaching. It struck me that this seems to be one of those conversations that continues over the years and not much has changed. The day after the show there were two new podcasts posted on the PBS site for Learning Matters with John Merrow. He has been doing a long-term series of interviews about the process of trying to bring about change in the Washington DC schools led by the Chancellor, Michelle Rhee and Mayor, Adrian Fenty. You might like to check them out. Both are relevant to the discussion and provide an interesting perspective on the topic. It's been really interesting to follow the developments with Michelle Rhee and the changes she is making in the DC schools-not without controversy. Merrow has not only interviewed Michelle about her process of bringing about change, but also teachers, parents, community members, and teacher union leaders. You'll hear many of the classic points we discussed on our Conversations webcast. :-) It's obvious there are no easy answers! It would be interesting for us to continue the conversation after people have a chance to hear these podcasts.
Peggy
http://www.pbs.org/merrow/tv/leadership/dc/index.html