Archive for the ‘Teacher Evaluations’ Category

A Bad Day or a Bad Teacher? (Video)

February 17, 2016


Sometimes I feel that the true worth of a teacher is measured by how restrained they are on their worst days. All teachers have days where they are struggling to control their urge to explode at students or the class. But the best teachers find a way to stay calm and maintain a consistency in mood.

I’m not sure this teacher acts like this on a regular basis, and I don’t really like her belittling tone or the employment of a “calm down chair” (a chair I recommend her use for herself), but if her worth was measured by this episode, I wouldn’t have thought she’d have scored very highly.

Hopefully she can use this experience to help motivate herself to be much better on a bad day.


Click on the link to read Tips for Surviving Your Teacher Evaluation

Click on the link to read Tips for Surviving a Teacher Observation

Click on the link to read The Call to Have Students Rate Their Teachers is Better than it Sounds

Click on the link to read First Work Out What a Quality Teacher is, Then Evaluate



Tips for Surviving Your Teacher Evaluation

November 29, 2015


We all hate being appraised, but it has become a requirement so we might as well adjust to it. I hope this list helps:


  1. Come prepared – Prepare for everything that could happen, from defending criticisms to bringing typed lists and evidence of your achievements.
  2. Look Those Assessing You in the Eye – Project confidence at all times.
  3. Listen – Don’t argue whilst being criticised, it never works. Simply listen, take notes and have your say later. Let them feel “talked out” before you respond.
  4. Have goals – Show that you reflect, are thinking ahead and prove to them that you have ambition and inner drive
  5. Don’t Just Defend – Come in with something you want from them. Something like better condition, pay or responsibility.


Good Luck!


Click on the link to read Tips for Surviving a Teacher Observation

Click on the link to read The Call to Have Students Rate Their Teachers is Better than it Sounds

Click on the link to read First Work Out What a Quality Teacher is, Then Evaluate

Click on the link to read 7 Tips for Building a Better School Day

Tips for Surviving a Teacher Observation

December 1, 2014



Nobody loves being “observed” whilst they are going about their job. Here are some helpful tips courtesy of


As you stand in front of your appraising tutor at your first PGCE observation, you’ll no doubt be feeling anxious. But remember; they’ll have seen hundreds of these lessons and witnessed every type of disaster – which means they’ll rarely be surprised or shocked.

Unlike Ofsted, which makes summative judgements, your tutor is looking for good work to build on.

Graham Birrell, senior education lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University, and co-author of Succeeding on your Primary PGCE, says the assessments made by your tutors, mentors and class teachers are formative. “The most important thing to go in with is a positive mindset.”

Joanna Sarri, a newly-qualified teacher, agrees: “Tutors are there to help – not criticise. Everything, including making a mistake, is just a learning point.”

The next thing to consider is the content of the lesson. “Avoid an all-singing, all-dancing lesson – this isn’t a reflection of where you really are as a teacher,” advises Sarri. The technology is bound to fail on the day anyway.

Birrell’s advice is to “think of a small thing to do, and then make it a bit smaller”. Don’t avoid risk altogether – just confine that ambition to choosing an edgy or original lesson topic.

Some basic rules also apply. Don’t start an entirely new subject, and have resources and spare copies of your lesson plan ready – which you should also share with your support staff.

Birrell advises against setting lesson objectives that are too vast; students won’t be able to understand the causes of the second world war in 45 minutes.

A common mistake made by new teachers, according to Birrell, is to plan a lesson aimed at keeping the kids busy. They might all be engaged, but if you can’t identify the learning taking place, the tutor will notice.

Rhiannon Rees, also a newly-qualified teacher, recalls a maths lesson in which physical activities and a hot classroom threw her plans into disarray.

“Although I’d sought advice from colleagues and double checked everything, my timing was hopeless and there wasn’t an easy way to pull things back,” she says. “The children were having a great time – if only we’d had another hour.”

Of course, the occasional sweaty disaster will occur. “Be prepared to abandon your plan if necessary,” advises Sarri. “You’ll impress more by being flexible and spontaneous than by sticking to it.”

Then you’ll be able to show that you know what went wrong – demonstrating that you’re on the road to becoming a self-reflective professional.

We can’t pretend that receiving feedback is always fun. Sometimes class teachers lack the ability to make supportive and productive comments to fellow adults. “They can speak to trainees in a way they’d never dare to talk to children,” says Sarri.

Birrell suggests one reason for this potential source of conflict with class teachers. As part of a target-driven system, they’re often anxious about handing over their responsibilities to a trainee, fearful that children will fall behind academically in the hands of a novice.

Be honest and non-defensive when you hear something tough from an observer. “There’s probably a reason, and in your next observation, you get a chance to prove you can change,” says Birrell.

Rees recommends a gracious smile and taking on board the advice you get.

Observations also remind you of what you’re doing well, says Sarri. Training provides an opportunity to explore your personal teaching style – before you’re subsumed into a school with its own version of “what works”.

Remember that, ultimately, it’s the children who count. You may think you’ve aced an observation or crashed out in the first five minutes. But going forward you’ll be learning from the children – the sharpest tools in the box.


Click on the link to read The Call to Have Students Rate Their Teachers is Better than it Sounds

Click on the link to read First Work Out What a Quality Teacher is, Then Evaluate

Click on the link to read 7 Tips for Building a Better School Day

Click on the link to read Tips for Catering for the Visual Learner

The Call to Have Students Rate Their Teachers is Better than it Sounds

October 4, 2013


Students grading their teacher on the quality of their lessons? What will they think of next? Surely that is merely asking for trouble. It puts the teacher in an impossible position where they may feel they have to pander to their students and disregard blatant misbehaviour in order to keep them on side lest they be graded poorly.

Then I actually read the article in its entirety and realised that what is being called for is actually very exciting and empowering for students. Instead of what the article first made us believe, students don’t grade the teacher on each individual lesson, but rather fill out a general questionnaire, giving them the opportunity to give the kind of feedback many feel stifled from giving:

Richard Cairns, Head Master of Brighton College is calling on the Government to make it compulsory for students to play a part in assessing the performance of teachers.

The move would help school leaders deal with under-performance in the classroom, he suggested.

In a speech to the Headmasters and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) annual meeting today, Mr Cairns will say that he has introduced such a system at his own school.

Pupils at Brighton College are asked to fill in an online questionnaire about each of their teachers.

The form includes 22 statements or questions such as “my teacher sets clear expectations for my studies and the quality of my work”, “my teacher caters for my learning style and my ability level” and “my teacher is passionate about his subject”.

Students are asked to give a grade for each statement or question ranging from one, which is positive, to five, which is negative. They can also add their own comments.

It is thought to be the first time that students have been asked to help appraise their teachers in this systematic way.

The findings are collected and used as part of a teacher’s appraisal, Mr Cairns says.

He will tell the conference: “It is used as the basis for discussions in appraisal meetings – either to praise good practice, or inform the setting of targets.”

Ahead of today’s meeting, Mr Cairns said: “All good heads know what the ‘word on the street’ is regarding good or bad teachers but we have no objective evidence except those that arise from lesson observations and exam results.”

Lesson observation is a “seriously flawed approach”, Mr Cairns argued, while exams results can say more about the culture of a school than how effective an individual teacher is.

Pupil appraisals are the only objective way of both praising good teachers and being able to have serious conversations with those that are not doing well, he suggested.

Mr Cairns said he is calling on the Government to make such a system compulsory in all schools “in order to help Heads deal quickly with underperforming teachers and also to provide positive, objective feedback for the best teachers which will aid retention and maintain enthusiasm”.

He added: “We have put a lot of money into school inspection and we are very concerned about standards in schools but the key consumers – the pupils – are not consulted. That strikes me as crazy.

“We’ve got to get over this issue that young people might abuse such a system.

“Every good teacher I know trusts the pupils that they teach to act responsibly.”

Mr Cairns said a similar system has been introduced at the London Academy of Excellence – a new state- funded sixth form in east London – which is co-sponsored by Brighton College.

Click on the link to read First Work Out What a Quality Teacher is, Then Evaluate

Click on the link to read 7 Tips for Building a Better School Day

Click on the link to read Tips for Catering for the Visual Learner

Click on the link to read Student Rant Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Could This be the Most Violent High School Test Question Ever?

Click on the link to read Six Valuable Steps to Making Positive Changes in Your Teaching

First Work Out What a Quality Teacher is, Then Evaluate

November 16, 2011

Tim Day of the New Teacher Project is spot on.  How can you evaluate teachers when you haven’t properly defined what a good teacher is?

“Everyone around teachers has failed them – the colleges, the administrators and the foundations,” said Tim Day of the New Teacher Project, offering what was likely the second-most provocative comment of my recent conference.

The group believes that teacher quality is key to student success, but districts treat all teachers the same – as interchangeable parts, rather than as professionals.

The problem is that it is difficult for principals to know exactly what happens when classroom doors close, and all the panelists seem to believe that what’s considered the easiest way to measure student growth – test scores – should be only one part of an evaluation.

In my view teachers should be evaluated, but one needs to know what they are looking for in a teacher so they can properly evaluate against it. Similarly, since teachers aren’t the only element in a functioning education system, other areas need to be evaluated.  Principals, administrators, schools (ie, school culture) and even those politicians entrusted with funding the schools should undergo evaluations too.

Leaving the teacher alone in the dark is not going to achieve anything.  Education is a team effort and currently the team is letting the teachers down.

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