Purpose of Teacher Evaluation?

This post is inspired by a training workshop designed to introduce folks to a new teacher evaluation rubric. In this training we were asked to write words that represent the purpose of teacher evaluation onto sticky notes to discuss and use to create a statement describing the purpose of teacher evaluation.

Many notes were created with words like support, management, achievement, communication, success, and celebrate …

… followed by wordy, comma-laden statements that attempted to squeeze them all together. It was, to me, a classic exercise in bloated and insecure leadership and “Is this the answer you are looking for?” behavior. I wish I could speak louder and clearer than a mumble when I’m in situations like this, but I often don’t – and it’s because I believe the comment or thought will either be misunderstood or not valued – I fear it will be snap-judged as idealistic and naïve and thus wasted.

I think teacher evaluations should focus one word: learning.

They should focus on the learning of all involved in the process – students, teachers, and administrators. Put all evaluation and all its goals through this one filter.

Naïve and idealistic, right?

But also potentially powerful –

With this filter there’s no need to mention “celebration” or “moving forward” or “success” or “achievement” – they all take care of themselves when we’re focused on learning and on our various flavors and interpretations of the concept.