Should public school students be allowed to evaluate their teachers? That is the question.
There is no doubt that everyone has an opinion about that which affects him or her. That is understandable. But is that enough for students to evaluate a teacher and have that evaluation be a portion of a teacher’s record?
One of my concerns about this, however, is the extent to which students are allowed to officially evaluate teachers. That could affect teachers’ yearly evaluations and be entered into their folders. I think not.
It is my opinion, from my long years and experience in education, that most students lack the maturity to make an assessment of a teacher’s proficiency. For example, if a student likes a teacher, and that teacher broke every important rule of the teacher-student education process, that teacher would get an excellent student evaluation.
On the other hand, if a student dislikes a teacher, that teacher would reap negative responses and comments. Recently, I learned of a student who evaluated his teacher and gave her failing scores. He claimed that he did so because he thought she was mean. This type of action could result in some teachers trying to pacify their students, and doing things to their students’ liking in hopes of getting good evaluations. That is unacceptable.
Now, I applaud those students who are mature enough to separate what is acceptable from what is not. I feel that would be minimal, however.
Another question comes to mind: Will teachers be allowed to evaluate their principals? Will that evaluation be a part of the principal’s evaluation before the board of education? Teachers should be trained educators, capable of evaluating. Then, too, every educator should be accountable, not just the teachers.
Trained educators in charge of evaluations should do their job in weeding out nonproductive or poorly qualified teachers, and in supporting and praising those teachers who do their best in educating our youth. Teachers have a herculean job as it is, and do not deserve that worry.
So let the educators do their job. Let the students do their job. Let all learn and enjoy their roles in the education process.
(The writer is a retired Richmond County public school teacher.)