Learning is highly dependent on the skills and abilities of the teacher. According to Hattie, the following influences rank very high in their ability to raise student achievement:
- teacher estimates of achievement
- collective teacher efficacy
- teacher credibility
- classroom discussion
- teacher clarity
- improved classroom instruction
Since we know that teachers influence student outcomes, we want to be sure that our teachers are the best that they can be. Hence, teachers are evaluated on a regular basis to be sure the they are effective and (hopefully) are improving.
A common tool that some school use to evaluate teachers is the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching. This tool, updated in 2013, looks at the job of teachers in four different domains:
- Planning and Preparation
- The Classroom Environment
- Professional Responsibilities
Each of these four domains are further divided into five or six components that zero in on specific factors that influence effective teaching. When this Framework is used to evaluate teachers, each component of each domain is considered and teachers are provided with a plethora of useful feedback. It is this feedback, along with conversations between the teacher and the evaluator, that lead to continuous improvement among our teachers.
Different school systems use different processes for evaluating teachers. However, all school systems recognize the value of teacher evaluations. Schools change. New materials, new technology, new information about how students learn; all combine together and require teachers to change what they do from time to time. No one wants a teacher who has used the same materials for 20 years; or who hasn't changed their teaching strategies (or improved their teaching strategies) for 20 years. We want teachers that recognize the needs of their students and adjust their teaching accordingly.
Teacher evaluations are an important part of the teaching profession. The improvement that we seek in our students, we also seek in our teachers.