Teachers are no strangers to classroom observations, but until recently, they were largely perfunctory exercises, with the majority of teachers receiving a satisfactory rating and very little feedback. Now school systems across the country are implementing new teacher evaluation systems, and classroom observations are being mandated with greater frequency and rigor. Are educators ready for it?
Growing up in a family of public school teachers, the fairness of classroom observations was a regular dinner table conversation. My mother was overwhelmed with anxiety during a principal’s surprise visit, causing her to stumble through the lesson. My father, a chemistry teacher, would deliver endless harangues about his evaluators’ lack of science knowledge. Teachers, like my parents, are unlikely to make instructional improvements if they distrust the feedback they receive from observers.
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