How to evaluate a teacher

As a teacher you are highly engaged by your students on a daily basis. This is a fact that we as teachers should always keep in mind when working in class. I felt quite inspired when having read the article about how to evaluate a teacher. For sure, it feels a little strange when there is another person evaluating you. At our school, during a new teacher’s first year, our principal and colleagues visit the classroom to look at the teaching strategies he/she uses, the content and level of teaching, the routine, the resources being taken into the lesson, and also the language that is used to differentiate learning. I had these visits too, and I must admit that I felt a little hesitant. But the more the visits took place, the more self-confident I felt. One of the main reasons is our school culture – the honesty, fair treatment, respectful argumentation and kind way of talking – fostered by my principal and colleagues. I felt there has been a lot of respect related to my work taking place, and also felt a positive atmosphere when talking about what I could have improved for the upcoming lessons. I think that one of the main aspects being observed by colleagues is that the feedback is relevant to my teaching and shows an honest way of criticism, so you don’t feel unvalued or upset about the statements. This way of reflection has helped me to improve my teaching, and today I feel quite calm when being observed and not fearful any more. As I haven’t been observed and judged by students, it would be very interesting to see the outcome, for instance, to read on a paper: what makes me a “good” teacher? (By the way, what makes a good teacher?!”)

In the article “Teacher Evaluation 2.0” it is said that there exist several problems related to current observation systems, such as not enough meaningful feedback of lessons given, statements about how professionals teach, or not enough opportunities to differentiate the observation.[1]

Instead the students can evaluate a teacher quite well, as they can master academically rigorous material, regardless of their socioeconomic status. A teacher’s primary professional responsibility is to ensure that students learn. Therefore, measures of student’s learning should play a predominant role in teacher evaluations. Evaluation results should form the foundation of teacher development. Although there must be meaningful consequences for consistently poor performance, the primary purpose of evaluations should not be punitive. Good evaluations identify excellent teachers and help teachers of all skill levels understand how they can improve; they encourage a school culture that prizes excellence and continual growth.[2] The following statement is taken from another online-article. AFT president Randi Weingarten said: [3]

“…teacher evaluations must be about improving teaching, not just rating teachers.”

I haven’t been evaluated by my students yet but I developed a survey that could be easily used as an Early Years survey, even for our three to five year old students (see below link).

In my opinion, a teacher should always be open towards these kinds of activities as they will bring me to a higher level of reflecting on my work and my teaching strategies.

By Carola Deinet-Knittel


[1] Online-article “Teacher Evaluation 2.0 “


[2] Page 4, see above article



[3] Article: Teacher Development and Education