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Chat highlights: Thinking through teacher evaluation

Hey John and Jose,

I always enjoy this time of year.  Looking ahead to the possibilities of a brand new year fills me with excitement and hope.  Over the last few years we’ve shared our dreams and goals for our profession with one another, much of it outlined in our book,TEACHING 2030.  I’m so glad to see this conversation expand using social media.  Our #teaching2030 Twitter chat every third Thursday of the month continues to draw a crowd passionately interested in advancing our profession.  The December 15 chat on teacher evaluation was no exception!

The conversation began with a discussion on the essentials of teacher evaluation. Some highlights:

  • @stephe1234: “We first have to create a culture of relational trust and growth among teacher and administrators.”
  • @MsMagiera: “Teacher eval must feel constructive, not punitive. Tchrs must feel safe enough to fail—without failure, there is no growth.” 

While it might seem daunting to deeply discuss a topic in only 140 characters at a time, we moved on to a discussion about peer evaluation.  @ratzelster@CohenD, and@MWilliamMoran engaged in a lively debate on the role of peers in teacher evaluation. @ratzelster worried that peer evaluation would take time away from PLCs and that peer evaluation could risks eroding those relationships. But @MWilliamMoran wrote, “Peer evaluation builds community, strengthens morale, and are often more trusted than evals coming from superiors.” 

The participants in the #teaching2030 chat had much to say about the direction teacher evaluation should take in the future. Some highlights from this discussion:

  • @TRackowitz:  “Shouldn’t master teachers be held to a higher standard?” 
  • @CohenD: “I’d hope we move towards differentiating evaluation just as we do for students.  My needs are quite different from new teachers.” 
  • @MoniseLSeward: “There must also be ‘space’ to included things teachers do to foster learning/creativity that cannot be measured.” 
  • @rcniman: “Should parents and students have input in evaluations?”  

Wow!  When teachers gather, the time always flies and leaves us with much more to share and discuss.  Luckily, the next #teaching2030 chat is coming up soon: January 19, 2012 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. (ET). 

The new year brings great possibilities for teachers.  Teachers curious about exploring, sharing, and engaging in conversations about our profession are invited to participate every third Thursday of each month in our #teaching2030 Twitter chat. I’m looking forward to a wonderful year of hopeful discussions about the future of teaching.

The complete transcript from the December 15 chat is available here.

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