I recently had a parent meeting where the parent and the student were unhappy with a teacher. They were making accusations that the teacher was unreasonable, rude to the student, was picking on the student, and would not help the student with school work. We had several conversations with the parent and a few with the student but things were just not progressing so we decided to have one last meeting with everyone at the table.
During the meeting, the parent and the student continued with their opinion of the teacher and how ineffective the teacher had been in class. There were also several accusations made regarding the teachers demeanor toward the student. The teacher provided his perspective of the events occurring in the classroom and reinforced his expectations of all students. Once everyone had the opportunity to speak and ask any questions that remained, I excused the teacher so I could speak with the parent and the student alone.
I am sure that you have experienced this same type of situation. Granted, everyone has a different perspective of the classroom environment. But, one advantage I have over others who are on the outside looking in is that I have observed the teacher and the class many times. In some instances the perspective of those outside of the school may be a little bias as they usually have one source of information. As administrators, it is our responsibility to gather as much credible information as possible so that we can formulate an appropriate response to the concerns of all involved parties.
…the teacher in question had been observed over 70 times in the past few years by our administrative team.
Although I always value the perspective of others, I also value what I have personally observed over the course of a few years. In this specific incident, the teacher in question had been observed over 70 times in the past few years by our administrative team. Additionally, I had personally observed the teacher over 30 times in the past few years and what I had learned is that the teacher is effective. His students learn Math and perform on every assessment administered in the class. I had also learned through my observations that this teacher is not warm and fuzzy. He is about business and in some instances does come across as being a little impatient and/or brash. Honestly, I am good with his demeanor. His students consistently perform and if being a little unpleasant from time to time results in this type of student performance then I can work through a somewhat rigid demeanor.
In some instances teachers feel as if a concerned parent who speaks loudly enough and often enough will get their way and administrators will succumb to the pressure of an uncomfortable situation. I argue that if administrators are consistently in class rooms they will have true and accurate information as to the climate of the class room and the ability of the teacher to effectively manage and educate students. If administrators visit class rooms often they will have the resources necessary to communicate true and accurate information to all stakeholders as to what has been observed in the class room. I will be the first to hold teachers accountable for creating and implementing a positive learning environment. I will also be the first to support my teachers when they have met my expectations and encounter those who wish to challenge their methods.
Teachers may not realize that one of the positive aspects of having so many observations of their class room is an educated administrative staff. Administrators who visit class rooms regularly are aware of the learning environments in their building and can accurately communicate with students, parents, and central office personnel the status of the learning environments in specific class rooms. It has been my experience that most often I am able to provide true and accurate information regarding a teacher and their class room and in most cases that information favors the teacher. Teachers often do not see or have opportunities to experience the support I provide for them as a result of me visiting their class room. In many incidences this support is communicated without teachers ever knowing there was a concern expressed to the administration.
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