March 25 – Kathy Collins suggests an alternative teacher evaluation

At the final Keynote by Kathy Collins at the March 2014 TCRWP Saturday Reunion, she suggested an alternative way to assess teachers. Presently, in many districts in our nation, end of year standardized tests are given and the reuslts are used to evaluate a teacher.

Her suggestion:  Short Answer Essays using my class list
 1. Circle the 17th name. Write everything you know for sure about this child’s life outside of school. Include their loves, fears, quirks, etc. Write how this knowledge impacts your teaching of this child.
2. Underline the 8th name on the list. Share a classroom anecdote about this child and indicate what that anecdote can tell you about this child’s humanity.
3. Put a star next to the 11th child’s name. Describe the child’s relationships to his/her peers and with other adults in the school. Provide an example of a collaborative classroom interactions involving that child.

It’s been said that good teaching is a 3-legged a stool: engagement, content, and pedagogy.
* I can know the content so well but without understanding the children, I won’t be able to teach them a thing.
* I can understand the children but the content may still not be delivered using the best method so it doesn’t stick.
* I can have the best relationships with all the children and use the best methods but if I don’t know the content, child will not learn the content that they are to learn.

As a teacher, I must focus on ALL aspects. I try to focus on ALL aspects. Kathy Collin’s got me to focus on the importance of relationships during her keynote and reminded me of how important they are. Standardized test results show that children know content. I have come to believe that the workshop model and authenic, hands-on activities are the best method to use to teach content to the children in my classroom.

It is a balance…one I am still striving to juggle well.
It is a balance…one that I will always work hard to accomplish.

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8 thoughts on “March 25 – Kathy Collins suggests an alternative teacher evaluation

  1. Jennifer says:

    I enjoyed your Slice today. I started using a workshop model in my classroom this year and I really feel like it does help me to teach each child better! You are right, there is so much more than conent to worry about! 🙂

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  2. shogem says:

    It is good to have a different perspective on these things. As teachers to do our best work we have to teach the whole child. Unfortunately it can get in the way of the curriculum that for some is the priority. In your own words– we are striving to “juggle” well.

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  3. readingtothecore says:

    I loved Kathy's closing! Only she could have us in stitches one minute and thinking seriously about the children we teach. The three-legged stool analogy is the perfect way to think about all we have to balance!

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  4. Marilyn Miner says:

    I heard Donald Graves speak once and his exercise for the conference participants was exactly what Kathy suggested. He used the exercise to talk about knowing our students so that we can support them better as writers. He was such a wonderfully wise man. I miss him.

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  5. lromainebrown says:

    Like that 3-legged stool. It is about relationship, but that's not all. It is about personalized instruction, but that's not all. Good teaching has to be there.
    I know of no more profound change in my teaching than when I began to learn to teach workshop — the shift from error correction to building on the positive; writing alongside my students, delivering clear, concise instruction along the way; learning to listen deeply to my students and them to each other; learning of their lives in writing transcended the usual likes and dislikes or small talk, and I knew that their growing writing skill affected their thinking, their reading, their empathy….so worth all the work.

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