Students mustn't evaluate

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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.

Ruth Reddy

Augusta

(The writer is a retired Richmond County public school teacher.)

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teacher02
3
Points
teacher02 12/31/11 - 09:09 am
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The letter writer makes a

The letter writer makes a great point. It makes we wonder if the politicians who created such a system have ever had children. The evaluation system also ignores basic human anatomy. The frontal cortex – the region responsible rational thought – doesn’t even fully develop into the early to mid 20s (hence why teenagers are notorious for making more emotional rather than logical decisions). Will the hormonal teenager who had their cell phone confiscated, or who was written up for multiple tardies, or who just struggled or hated the subject matter, or just hates school and authority figures in general – will that student really give the teacher a fair review? This system will merely become a popularity contest, with the “cool” teachers and those teach the most interesting classes receiving the highest reviews. As a teacher, I am in complete favor of an evaluation system that recognizes high performing teachers and takes steps to remedy low performing ones. However, it’s the method of determining that in this system that is the problem.

Riverman1
82261
Points
Riverman1 12/31/11 - 09:18 am
0
0
Obviously, y'all never had

Obviously, y'all never had anyone like my 5th grader teacher, Miss Wade, whom I have nightmares about to this day. She wore hobnailed boots and carried a swagger stick and walked very slowly past you slapping her hand with that thing and humming. I never once looked up at her.

ConcernedTaxpayer
28
Points
ConcernedTaxpayer 12/31/11 - 10:13 am
0
0
I totally agree with the

I totally agree with the writer of the article and teacher02. However, when it comes to college level instructors, I think evaluations by the students is necessary. The only quarter I missed being on the dean's list was when I took a marketing class with a new instructor. She knew her material, but was unable to present it in a way that it would be absorbed by the students and she was totally unable to write a meaningful test. Every one failed the final test and she ended up grading it on a curve so that some of us could pass it. That was her first and last quarter instructing at that institution. I never gave any other instructor a bad evaluation, but I sure gave her a bad one.

dichotomy
32073
Points
dichotomy 12/31/11 - 11:06 am
0
0
Yeh I don't think this is a

Yeh I don't think this is a good idea either but I also do not agree with the writer about who should be doing the evaluations. We have let trained educators evaluate educators since the beginning of time but that is no longer working. If it did work, we would not have so many bad teachers in the system. I hear the taxpaying public clamor for teacher accountability and I keep hearing the teachers poo pooing everything that is proposed from testing to student evaluations. What I haven't heard is the teachers themselves propose an evaluation system, with consequences, that would provide a system for keeping and rewarding good teachers, getting rid of poor teachers, and incentivizing mediocre teachers to do better. The status quo is no longer acceptable. The taxpayer is being molested and forced to provide more and more money to a failed public education system. If the teachers don't want things like student evaluations forced upon them, I suggest they come up with a drastic, radical proposal of their own that will improve education, eliminate the dead wood, and contain....no....REDUCE costs. Until then, we will keep grasping at straws like testing and student evaluations.

teacher02
3
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teacher02 12/31/11 - 12:01 pm
0
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dichotomy, I agree with you

dichotomy, I agree with you that the old evaluation system needed to change. However, that evaluation system has been modified (as of this year) and is continuing to evolve. The administrators are being better trained at what to look for and are providing more individualized feedback. I think most people want a simple, plug in the numbers system that pinpoints good and bad teachers. That system will never exist. There are just too many variables to use things like test scores and student evaluations as sole determiners of a teacher's effectiveness...

teacher02
3
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teacher02 12/31/11 - 12:08 pm
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...If student test scores

...If student test scores must be used, they should be compared to the student's performance in that teacher's class (if students are scoring "A's" in the class but failing the tests there is probably something wrong). They should also be evaluated by someone with an understanding of the specific challenges that school faces (a 75% pass rate at one school might be comparable to a 95% pass rate at another). But you can't just take the numbers in a vacuum. And holding things like student attendance against the teacher (which is another component of the evaluation) is ridiculous.

Cirroc2012
19
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Cirroc2012 12/31/11 - 12:36 pm
0
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Teacher02, I think they need

Teacher02, I think they need to come up with a better Idea, I have gone to my daughter school on several times and it bothers me to see the kids who are acting out for attention that don't get a home and use the class for this time. Some of them are sleeping. I think they are trying to use teachers as an excuse for the failure in the school system.

harley_52
22989
Points
harley_52 12/31/11 - 02:01 pm
0
0
First of all, I do not

First of all, I do not believe students evaluating teachers is a good idea because I don't think students are mature enough to recognize that a teacher's role is NOT to be their "buddy" who is always nice to them and always lets them have their way.

More importantly, however, I don't think teacher evaluations are the problem. In fact, that this issue is even being discussed is a symptom of the larger problem which is that American society is no longer capable of producing well educated citizens, regardless the amount of money spent in efforts thereto.

I'll tell you what the problem is in one word. Liberalism.

Nobody is in charge. Nobody demands results. People are all caught up in the process and they pay no attention to the results.

There is very little difference in asking whether students should be rating teachers than there is in asking whether inmates should be rating prison officials. It's a bad idea. Who would ever think of such foolishness? Liberals would, that's who.

As a senior citizen, it's obvious to me who my best teachers were way back when. I still remember them and lessons they taught me. If I had rated them as a student, I would have rated them as the worst because they were always pushing me to do more, to try harder, and to achieve things I didn't think possible at the time.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 12/31/11 - 02:25 pm
0
0
Let me get this straight: The

Let me get this straight: The students may evaluate their teachers.

Let me set the record straight: Parents may take out warrants against teachers who TOUCH their children.

My decision to retire from teaching in public schools looks better and better with each succeeding day.

Unfortunately, most children whose parents lack substantial financial means are denied the option of retiring from a public school system which consistently fails to meet many of their academic and civic needs.

harley_52
22989
Points
harley_52 12/31/11 - 02:32 pm
0
0
Cirroc2012 said "I think they

Cirroc2012 said "I think they are trying to use teachers as an excuse for the failure in the school system."

Worse than that, they're trying to use teachers as an excuse for the failure of society.

We have lost our way as a society. We have repudiated our history and our values. We have divorced ourselves from the things that once made us great. We have become a society of lazy, uninspired, unimaginative, unmanly, poorly educated, freeloading, fair weathered sissies who cant discipline our own children, provide our own sustinance, or settle our own disputes, or even to win wars.

We have taught our citizens they need not work, or get an education. That simply because they breathe we will feed them, house them, provide them whatever they need to enjoy a middle class lifestyle including superb medical care for whatever ails them. If they "act out" in school we will keep them anyway. If they break our laws we will keep them in comfort and safety as we provide them prisons that will seem like home.

We have taught mothers it's financially rewarding to NOT have a man around the house and to have as many fatherless children as they can birth.

We dump all these untrained, uninspired, belligerent, rude, unmotivated children on teachers who are trained to be nonjudgmental, accepting, kind, and gentle and expect them to change these "students" into clean, polite, kind, well mannered, educated, productive citizens at the output end.

And we're surprised when it doesn't work and wonder if maybe having the children rate the teachers will solve the problems.

Ha Ha.....

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 12/31/11 - 09:11 pm
0
0
@harley 52 "Who would ever

@harley 52 "Who would ever think of such foolishness?" Seriously, why would this even be a part of the discussion? And we wonder why the school system isn't working which is the same as government not working...Who comes up with this mess?

What we have become, harley, is goverment-"ized" or liberalized, take your pick.

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