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Evaluation Time!

For many, this is the time of the school year where the administrators begin coming in to the classrooms to do the official evaluations on teachers.  Remembering back to my first year and my first evaluation, I now think, "What was I thinking?"  My lesson was a debate on the 2nd Amendment with a FRESHMAN class.  Did I mention they were freshmen?  Oh, wow!  My administrators comment at the end... "You were daring!"  Was that a compliment?  I'm still not sure!

Now that I have grown in my classroom and my tenure, and having worked with many new teachers through my mentoring programs, I feel confident in giving advice on those oh so important evaluation lessons!  My first piece of advice - Don't stress!

If you look back at your interview, you really did not get your job based on what you knew, or even based on what you provided on paper for the interview process.  You earned your teaching position because you showed confidence.  You were most likely the candidate that showed confidence in effectively managing a classroom, in planning and teaching the required standards and content, and in effectively working with students to help them build their own confidence.  That's what a good teacher does... they teach confidence!

So, as we discuss the evaluation process, think about it in the same manner.  Be confident.  Be ready.  Be excited!

In most states, your administrator is required to evaluate your teaching multiple times in the school year.  Be excited about this.  It is a good thing for administrators to be in the classroom, and you should be welcoming and inviting.  On that note, do not treat them like they are a foreigner.  Instead, include them as though they are a new student in the room.  Ask them the questions you are asking the students.  Expect them to complete the assignment as the students do!  Now only will this give the administrator a better understanding of how students feel in your classroom, but it will also show them you are confident in what you are doing there.  You are in charge of your domain!

Now, you should be meeting with your administrator to discuss you lessons before the evaluation and after to discuss the outcomes and impressions.  Do not fear these meetings.  Use them as you would a college course.  Go into it thinking, "What can I learn?"  And make sure your administrator knows you are still learning and will always be learning.  It's what will make you a better teacher!

Finally, teach!  Do what you do best.  Be prepared for the class.  Have detailed lesson plans.  Have a curriculum map that shows you know where you are going next.  Have already established a community in your classroom with good rapport and relationships.  And finally, hold high expectations - for your students and for yourself!

Don't be afraid of evaluations.  They help us to improve.  They help us to be the most effective teacher we can be in our classroom for our students.  And in the end - it is just one day in your classroom, a snapshot of your year.  If it is a bust, make things better.  In the long run, you will learn that teaching is not about being successful every day.  It's about coming back each day to try again!

Need some organizational tools and creative ideas for your evaluation?  Take a look at my TpT products to help you be the best in your classroom!

To establish and build rapport for a classroom community - Free Identity Bag Homework Assignment

To maintain effective classroom management - Free Behavior Contracts

To plan solid standards based lessons - Free Curriculum Map & Free Lesson & Unit Plan Template

To create a fun and differentiated classroom - Creating Game Boards & Human Game Board Pieces

To assess student progress and help students self-assess - End of Unit Student Study Survey

To assess your own impact in the classroom - End of Unit or Year Survey

And in the end, it doesn't hurt to have a bit of good luck!  I wish you much!

Michele