Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I do not understand why teachers are so intimidated by observations, evaluations, and in particular casual, unscheduled walk-through observations by their adminstrators or colleagues. In any given profession, you are observed by others in your workplace, whether by your superiors or constituents.

Teaching is one of the few jobs where adults work in isolation, with no accountability to anyone else for their daily tasks. Our students are left at our mercy, behind closed doors. They have little idea if they are being taught what should be taught, if it is truly preparing them for the next step in their lives or not.

It seems to me that teachers should open their doors to each other, to their adminstrators as well as parents. If we are doing our job, we have nothing to hide. By opening our doors, by welcoming honest feedback on our 'performance', wouldn't we simply be encouraging ourselves to look critically at our own practice and how it can best be improved?

Maybe that's part of the problem? Some teachers are so entrenched in their own mediocrity they are afraid of having to improve?

There are many great teachers out there with much to share - content, pedagogical methods and styles, organizational tips and tricks - with their colleagues. Walk-throughs of each other's classes could share the wealth of knowledge, creating a more effective place of learning for students. We just have to get past that initial cringe of fear of having others in our rooms.


ms-teacher said...

I'll answer that question. It's fine if you have a trusting relationship with your administrator - quite something else, if you don't.

If you administrator knows what they are looking for & doesn't have some ax to grind, then most teachers are (& should be) okay with these observations/walk throughs.

Until you have been at the mercy of an incompetent administrator or one who plays favorites (I've experienced both), you will probably never understand why some have issues with this.

cossondra said...

I can see your point ms-teacher. From the negativity launched against walk-throughs, there must be many administrators with an ax to grind, or playing favorites. Maybe we need to focus our efforts in education at fixing those issues?

Anonymous said...

I think that it's important to have a great relationship with your administrator. But first and foremost they need to be able to be good leaders and all the textbook knowledge in the world will not necessarily make you a good administrator until you actually get into the position and establish a repetoire with your colleagues. Be open-minded, be flexible, a leader, motivator and great listener.

cossondra said...

Yes, anonymous! It is all about building that relationship. Some administrators strive to create a foundation of trust and respect; others just don't 'get it'.

I too feel that adminstrators, as well as teachers, must come to their positions with some inherent abilities for their roles. Some skills simply cannot be taught.

For teachers, it is difficult to learn how to build relationships. For adminstrators, the same is often true. Until teachers trust their adminstrator to have the best interests of their students are heart, those adminstrators are seen as the enemy instead of instructional leaders.