The Evaluations Teachers Should Be Getting

Teacher evaluation pin

Teachers are sick and tired of evaluations that focus primarily on standardized test scores or a short observation from an administrator who may not have a full picture of the scope and context of the class.  Most teachers take their work extremely seriously, working long hours to improve curriculum, communication, intervention, and the general quality of life and education for their students.  Below is the evaluation I think we should be getting. What do you think?  What would you add?  Let us know in the comment section below!

 

Teacher Evaluation

Teacher/Department:

Evaluator/Administrator:  

The following questions should be answered after a collaborative discussion between teacher and administrator. (Response boxes can be expanded)

1. What are you Proud of?   Please Share some of the success stories from this school year so far. How have you impacted the life of a student(s)? What creative strategies have you tried? What is going well in your classroom?

2. Let’s talk about overtime and extra-curriculars. Document the clubs, sports, field trips, and extra support services that may not be recognized by the administration or required in your contract. How are you balancing your time planning, grading, contacting parents, and preparing for class? Is there anything the school can do to support you in this area?

3. What kinds of additional support can the school provide? Do students need food, school supplies, emotional support, academic intervention services, or anything else? Do you need resources, professional development, or other work related items? How can the school ensure the financial burden is not solely yours?

Employee Signature

Administrator Signature

Date

Date

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Tips for Keeping Students Healthy

HealthyAs teachers, we all know that we tend to be so much more than curriculum delivery people.  We are nurses, counselors, food distributors, cheerleaders, disciplinarians, parental figures, and so much more.  As a collective, we know that effective teaching and learning can only happen when the classroom is a safe and healthy environment.  Today, let’s talk about ways to help our students stay healthy.  Of course, we will not irradiate the common cold before our next Chaucer lecture, but we can take some steps toward healthier students without taking too much time out of our already packed agendas.  Below are a few tips that I’ve put together.  Feel free to add your tips in the comment section!

1. Clean the room. I like to stock up on the disinfecting wipes from costco or target when I see them on sale.  Then, I set a routine to clean at intervals.  Some years I have required detention students to wipe down my room and other years I have given myself the task for Friday mornings when I am less motivated by piles of paper and so a little grunt work and mental reflection time does me well.  Areas to be sure to clean:

  • Desks
  • Pencil sharpeners/Staplers
  • Door knobs/Railings
  • Phones/iPads/etc (If you have a class set of devices, it is a very good idea to clean them regularly- I read somewhere that our phones are usually dirtier than a public toilet!  I also encourage students to clean their own devices, especially when the cold and flu season hits.  Be sure that whatever you are using to clean is approved for use on electronics.)

2. Encourage good habits. We are busy with teaching, testing, and other daily classroom chores, but teachers can make it a habit to encourage healthy behavior through a quick announcement routine, poster, or a tip of the day on the board.  Some tips to include for high school students include:

  • Washing hands: This is not just a rule for the preschoolers!
  • Drinking water: Consider allowing and encouraging students to drink water in class.
  • Eating right/Exercising: Teens probably hear this from their parents all the time, but we can be another voice in their heads working for good.
  • Getting enough sleep: Staying up all night is main stay of teenage life whether they are texting, gaming, studying, or doing anything else.  Help reinforce the value of a good night’s sleep.  Some of them may hear you.
  • Coughing/Sneezing ettiquette: In my son’s preschool class, the students are well trained to avoid coughing and sneezing on each other or on their own hands.  In my high school class, not so much.  I think overall high schoolers just need a gentle reminder here and there.

3. Be mindful of stressors. We see in study after study that stress has a negative effect on health.  We cannot eliminate all stress from teenage life, but we can be mindful of the things in our control that may exacerbate the problem.

  • Homework: I saw this CNN article recently that looked at the issue of homework and sickness in students. Homework is inevitable in most secondary classrooms, but as teachers we can still be mindful of the quantity and timelines of assignments.  I do my best to give students a schedule of homework with advance notice so that they can plan their schedules accordingly.
  • Missing class: When students need to miss class for illness, sports, clubs, or other reasons, it can be very stressful to catch up on all 6 subjects while staying up on current work.  For these students, communication is key to keeping them on track.  Posting assignments on a calendar/website/social media account or answering emails in a timely fashion can keep students from falling too far behind and then falling into the cycle of stress and sickness.
  • Big projects: Some students make themselves sick with worry over big projects.  Ramping up to a major presentation or giving small steps for a larger research paper can help students manage the stress.

What do you do to help students stay healthy?   We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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Teacher Tip: An Easy Way to Create Sheltered Research and Argument Projects

Sheltered ResearchDuring this time of year, the research paper dominates the English department in my school.  We slog through the sometimes painful and sometimes engaging process of finding credible sources, creating a documented argument, and using MLA format.   I wrote about teaching research papers in this earlier post if you want to know more. Today I want to share a quick tip for creating sheltered research and argument papers without a ton of background work for the teacher. By sheltered research, I just mean that teachers provide the sources for students to synthesize as opposed to students being open to all possible sources. I find that these assignments are ideal for preparing students to do longer, more independent and scholarly research papers later.

Benefits of Sheltered Research: 

  • The teacher controls the type of sources used, which can help students avoid the pitfalls of inappropriate sources.  They must learn about the pitfalls later, but hopefully after they have the confidence to use reliable sources.
  • The research timeline can go much faster when students are given the sources so teachers can fit research in even with other priorities and testing schedules.
  • It is easier to track down plagiarism and misreading when the teacher is familiar with the sources.
  • MLA citation teaching can be more directly guided when the teacher knows exactly what type of sources students will be citing.

Goals of the Assignment: 

  • Students will read professional sources on a given topic.
  • Students will develop a thesis and argument on a topic.
  • Students will synthesize a given number of sources to support their argument.  (I usually say that they must use 3 sources, but that number can vary.)
  • Students will properly quote, paraphrase, and cite sources.

Finding Resources: 

You can take the time to look up articles and print them for students or link them to your website, but I would like to draw your attention to an easier way that may work for you. Many newspapers create online collections around topics, which offer a wealth of contexts and perspectives.  Using them also helps keep the research current without the teacher redoing work every year or so.  Here are some links to topics that may intrigue students:

Students look through the headlines and select articles to read and use.  The nice thing about using a newspaper database is that students have a variety of articles to spin their paper without the significant limitation that results in 30+ identical papers.  Depending on the population you serve, you may need to find newspapers that are more relevant or acceptable to your area.  More scholarly articles can be found in library databases, of course, but I find that newspaper articles are much more accessible to students early in the process of learning.

What do you think? Would you use these resources?  How do you find research to provide to students without spending hours planning?

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