[Letters] Reinvigorating teachers
On evaluating teachers, I believe there is a middle ground.
First, I agree with Kim Eun in the aspect that students generally seem to come to the consensus as to whether a teacher is effective or not. This information is then provided to the teacher with a list of the pros and cons that students provided. As the chief teacher in the English Department at Ms. Kim’s school I have seen teachers come and go (not to the extent that Richard Thompson offers in his letter refuting Ms. Kim).
Yet, those teachers do not depart, nor are they released, solely on the evaluations. Some teachers come and realize they don’t want to be a teacher. Some are there only for reasons beyond teaching : travel, to see a new culture or to learn.
Others are shown the door for an amalgamation of things including, but not limited to, grading inconsistencies, classroom conduct, co-worker complaints, brushes with the principal and so on. I have never seen a teacher leave only because of evaluations.
Furthermore, I agree with Steve Austin’s letter “Licensed to teach” on the suggestion that teachers need to prove that they are keeping up with the changes and improvements in education. The job security blanket that has been handed to teachers up to this point has to come with a tag that requires further training, self-motivated learning and the will to always learn more. As my mother, who taught elementary school for over 30 years, says, “You never stop learning, nor do you want to.”
In the same token, my mom also said, “teaching is not a popularity contest.”
And in my experience the evaluation system does not point to this. Mr. Thompson said that it had led to inflated grades, but surely that correlates to the time that the evaluations are given and the integrity of the teacher. My school gives them mid-second semester.
Moreover, not surprisingly, time and time again the ones who receive poor evaluations are the ones who have shown little enthusiasm for the classroom and its challenges, minimal concern for the students and an overall unwillingness to listen to advice from those who have knowledge and experience.
Thus, I believe a combination of teacher evaluations and required continuing education and improvement would offer at least some first steps toward a reinvigorated teaching force.
John M. Rodgers, Daewon Foreign Language High School teacher