Teachers are the fundamental facet to MCPS. They contribute to the community with their teaching skills and hard work. But when it comes to evaluating their performance, it can get difficult to come up with a method that is accurate and fair. Teacher evaluations can give necessary critique as well as an idea of how well a teacher is performing, when evaluation is done right. According to the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), “the process of discussing and crafting evaluation systems focuses attention on the practice of good teaching and helps to create a culture in which teaching is highly valued.”
Students in Montgomery County have tended to agree that teacher evaluations by high school students are a plausible way to gauge a teacher’s performance and should be in place, but for different reasons.
Student opinion can offer a lot of input in many different ways, but evaluations by students do not necessarily have to be mandatory. Erin Choi, a sophomore at Poolesville High School, believes that teacher evaluations “should be a voluntary thing where if a student feels the desire or necessity to write it, then they should be given the opportunity. Those that want to [offer their opinion] will probably provide the most accurate and genuine evaluations of a teacher because they feel the need to voice something about that teacher, positive or negative. That, in turn, can help the school assess the teacher in a way that can’t be done by anyone else but students.”
However, sophomore Sanna Madan believes that teacher evaluations are “highly crucial” and should be mandatory. “Students interact most with their teachers, and they are the receivers of their teacher’s ‘product’… [When evaluating teachers], students will be the most honest and most certain about what they have to say. And it won’t just be one student— it will be multiple, so bias is likely to be eliminated.”
Similarly, another student remarks that “there should be teacher evaluations because sometimes teachers aren’t always adapting to other kids’ needs and they won’t be able to know that unless they ask their students.” Teacher evaluations can help teachers become more familiar with student needs, and can give students an opportunity to voice their concerns and ideas. With evaluations, “teachers can improve their teaching skills because if they don’t know what their students need, then they won’t be able to deliver it to them,” Madan said.
Regardless of the reason, MCPS students seemed to agree that teacher evaluations by high school students should be in place to better our learning environment as a whole. And as said by the CRLT, “we will not be able to recognize and reward teaching adequately until we craft a better system for evaluating it.”
Written by Deepti Agnihotri, MoCo Student opinions writer
Image from the Huffington Post