In the business world, a manager is typically responsible for evaluating his/her team which can be comprised of seven or less people. However, in a school building, the principal is responsible for completing evaluations for the entire staff! Depending on the size of the building, that could be as many as 100 teacher evaluations. These expectations are impossible to meet, so another solution is needed...Teacher Leader Evaluators!
According to Linda Hammond (2013), teacher evaluators exist in 13 states through PAR (peer assistance and review) programs. These teachers, referred to as consulting teachers, have been chosen to evaluate fellow teachers in the same subject area or grade level. Consulting teachers do not have the authority to approve or reject a teacher for re-hire, this is done through a panel of both consulting teachers and administrators. Consulting teachers go through an intense selection process, which includes interviews, classroom observations, peer recommendations, and teaching experience. Consulting teachers are also paid an annual stipend.
After reading the article, “When Teachers Support & Evaluate Their Peers”, I am intrigued by the PAR program. I’ve always thought that teachers evaluating other teachers was more of a conflict of interests, however I’m starting to change my mind on this topic. Teachers are much more in tune with what is happening in the classroom and how that relates to the curriculum. It is very difficult for administrators to stay familiar with all the curriculum programs that are being used in their building. It does make sense for teachers to evaluate their peers for this reason.
The primary goal of the PAR program was, “not to get rid of bad teachers but to further develop good ones” (Hammond, p. 27). When we think about teacher retention rates, being supported by teacher leaders would increase retention rates. When teachers feel supported they are more likely to take chances in their profession. Not only do the teachers being observed benefit in this program, but so do the consulting teachers-both groups become better teachers. So after reading some of the benefits of the PAR program I would be open to the idea of having teacher leaders complete evaluations.
Hammond, L. (2013). When teachers support & evaluate their peers. Educational Leadership, 71(2), 24-29.