3 Aspects of Teaching

How do you rate a teacher on their enthusiasm and intensity? How do you measure it? If the teacher has the attention of all of his or her students, and the students are totally into and engaged in the lesson, can the teacher be given anything less than an "innovative" rating. Otherwise, the element is a false element that should not be included in the system. I would love to have someone explain the difference between "applying" and "innovating" in the area of enthusiasm--does it have something to do with frazzled hair and eyes popping out? The same goes for sharing interesting and unusual facts--what is the threshold for the teacher to receive the top rating...is there a certain number of interesting facts that must be shared before the teacher wins the prize? Does every child need to express awe and wonder, repeatedly? And when it comes to building strong relationships with one's students--to the point that they know you care--what does a teacher have to do in order to demonstrate that they have reached this desired effect? The evaluator may not see all that a teacher has previously done to send this message of compassion, but they can certainly see the impact by just a few interactions between the teacher and his or her students. Should the teacher stop their lesson and high-five all of their students in order to guarantee a top rating in this area? Can there ever be 100% verifiable evidence? That seems like an unrealistic requirement for something that is so powerful, accessible, and essential. Are we splitting hairs in terms of how we assess our teachers? - These three important aspects of teaching--having enthusiasm, making things interesting, and caring about your students--can literally change the climate and culture of a classroom. I give out most of my "innovating" ratings in these important areas of teaching, even if it is hard to qualify or quantify their total impact. The sad thing is, I know administrators that never rate teachers in these areas. And if they do, they only use the "applying" because of the ambiguity of how it should be scored. We do a disservice to the teaching profession when we set unrealistic goals for teachers and we don't provide them with authentic assessments that take into account all that they do to provide their students with the very best instruction possible. It is little wonder why teachers feel demoralized and are leaving the classroom in droves.

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Political advertisement paid for and approved by Matthew J. Fitzpatrick, Non-Partisan, for Orange County School Board Chair


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