Did you get a not-so-perfect teacher evaluation after your classroom observation and don't know what to do next? Well don't freak out. This blog post will tell you just how to handle it.
Evaluation Gone Bad
Let's be honest, no teacher enjoys classroom evaluation season. In advance of the pressure that'll be on you during an administrative visit, you end up begging your students to be on their best behavior and overthinking the day's lesson plan for weeks ahead of time. But what do you do if your nightmares come true and you actually end up with a negative evaluation? Here's our advice.
Listen to the Feedback
Like we said earlier, the only part of making a mistake that really matters is the way that you learn and grow as a result. So use your teacher evaluation as an opportunity to become a better teacher. Take an honest look at the negative feedback that you received. Try to see where your evaluator is coming from.
Unless your administrator is your arch-nemesis and trying to sabotage your career, chances are he or she is only trying to help by giving you constructive feedback. Take the time to consider it with care. If there's anything you're not sure about, don't be afraid to ask. This also has the added benefit of making you look reasonable, which, of course, you are!
We get it, a negative assessment feels like a punch in the face. Especially when it's regarding something you put your blood, sweat, and tears into. But before you throw a fit, have a panic attack, or yell at your administrators, take a deep breath. Perspective is always good in a situation like this.
If your poor evaluation is the result of a mistake or misunderstanding, you can always explain yourself. Or, if you genuinely messed up, that's okay, too! You're human and humans make mistakes. The most important thing is that you learn from the negative evaluation, instead of letting your emotions result in a rash decision, like posting a strongly worded open letter to your school principal online.
If, in fact, you discover that your negative evaluation was the result of a misunderstanding, mistake, or outstanding circumstance, you might want to bring it up with your administration. But be cautious, though, as there's a fine line between clarifying a misunderstanding and making excuses. If you're going to go this route, make sure that what you have to say is really going to give your evaluator a significantly different perspective on what he or she saw. For example, if the student that continually interrupted your class has a history of behavioral issues that you are working on together in a one-on-one setting, it might be worth mentioning. However, it probably isn't worth trying to explain that you only lost control of your classroom because you stayed up late partying the night before; that information is probably best kept to yourself.
Make an Action Plan
After you've looked over your feedback and thought it through, make an action plan for how you're going to take it into account. What changes are you going to make in response?
- Do you need to spend more time lesson planning?
- Do you need to work on your classroom management skills?
- Does your ability to manage different types and levels of learners in your classroom need more work?
Focus on how you're going to improve as a teacher moving forward. That is, in fact, the main goal, isn't it?
It's also worth mentioning that just making a plan of action isn't enough. You also have to commit to it. Consider setting up a check-in schedule with your administration to help you maintain personal accountability. And start making progress on your plan immediately. It doesn't have to wait until the next school year. You always discourage your students from procrastinating, right?
One last thing: be easy on yourself. Getting a negative teacher evaluation can be heartbreaking. So treat yourself like a friend - that is to say, with sympathy, patience, and kindness. You don't need to beat yourself up over this.
Instead, tell yourself it'll be okay (because it will), relax in a hot bath and watch a funny movie. And then put on your favorite outfit and get to work being the best teacher you can be.
For a resource you can use in your classroom and at home, check out Study.com's Teacher Edition, which can help with lesson planning and grade tracking.