“You are fine. None of the students complain about you.”
This was my former principal’s evaluative feedback on my first year of teaching.
I thought “Seriously? I am a first year teacher and this is the best feedback you can give me. I know in some way I am screwing up these kids. How can I improve?”
The whole teacher feedback and evaluation system was screwy to me. I spent many years in business where feedback and professional development were the cornerstones to building a robust team of professionals. I was shocked (later turned to dismay) to see year after year the lack of regular and meaningful feedback to teachers on their practice, specifically feedback that targets the learning and teaching in the classroom.
The bottom-line is traditional professional development – the one-shot, drive-by workshops with no follow-up, and the absence of teacher feedback systems in our workplace is NOT going to change. It’s a pattern that hasn’t changed over decades, despite education research pointing out how ineffectual it is. As I write this, I can think of all the pointless training binders and materials lining my classroom’s bookshelves. Have I looked at these ever since the training or workshop? Negative, with the exception of a few – notably SIOP.
Let’s face it – the only chance for change in how we get effective professional development and feedback is going to come from us – teachers! In short, we are the CHANGE AGENTS.
Regular and meaningful feedback to educators on their teaching and student learning can be transformational. To put a spotlight on the POWER of TEACHER FEEDBACK, Road to Teaching is going to launch a series – Blow Up Your Practice with Teacher Feedback for December/January.
I want to hear from you. Email me directly at eric [at] road2teaching.com with how YOU seek and use feedback on your practice. I will then share these responses with our growing teacher community. All suggestions/strategies are welcome, but make sure your submission 1) connects to teacher feedback, and 2) is something other teachers can learn from and implement in their own practice. Lastly, please indicate how you want to be credited.
To kick this series off, the first 10 responses will be entered into a chance to win a copy of my book – Road to Teaching. I promise I’ll send a copy to the lucky winner!
Look forward to seeing all the different and unique ways teachers seek and use feedback to improve their practice,