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What Top Chef says about teacher evaluation

By Timothy Boyle on Jun 28, 2011 02:01 PM

I've been watching a lot of "Top Chef All-Stars" recently. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it pits chefs against each other in a series of challenges rated by some of the most famous chefs in the world. Each episode, the chefs are challenged by the ingredients, style, preparation time, and evaluators they are given.

The evaluation panel includes names that even a little-cooking, non-foodies like myself recognize. The contestants clearly admire and respect those judging their food. Each contestant gets to answer the panel's questions about the dish before the master chefs deliberate over whose food was the best. Even the losing chefs get told exactly where their dish went right, and where it went wrong.  

How do you think a "Top Educator" show would compare?

What would the challenges be? How do you think the contestants would be evaluated? Do you think the student learning on the show would be measured by a bubble test? Who would be the "experts" to perform the evaluations? Most importantly, would the show look anything like the evaluation you get?

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Comments (5)

Submitted by Gamal Sherif on June 29, 2011 1:40 pm

Wonderful questions. I'd love for teacher review and assessment to include collaboration with other teachers, preferably a mix of folks from one's own school and a "top educator" selected by the teacher being reviewed.

Specifically, we should ask teachers:
1) What are your short- and long-term professional goals?
2) How are your goals influenced by student, classroom and district data*? How can the data inform (rather than drive) your professional growth?
3) How can you meaningfully assess your professional growth?
4) How can items 1), 2) and 3) come together for a peer-reviewed professional development plan?

* Data is not limited to standardized test scores.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on June 29, 2011 3:56 pm

National Board for Professional Teaching also offers additional ideas. One of the reasons I appreciate the National Board process is the focus on student learning - not "achievement" in a test driven sense - but how do students grow as learners (and I'd add human beings). The secondary teacher, in particular, has to not only know his/her subject matter but how to engage students in finding something meaningful in it. Lastly, teachers' are committed to furthering their own learning and willing to try new things. I find lack of interest in one's ongoing learning, broadly defined, frustrating. It is part of the Danielson criteria but I've never heard an administrator prioritize it.

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on June 29, 2011 3:56 pm

 Do you see Danielson's framework being used as anything more than the text next to the box an administrator fills in?

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on June 29, 2011 4:14 pm

No. A lot of the Danielson framework is sensible and could lead to growth but it is used as a check off. I have never had my "before observation" nor "post observation" meeting. I just get the form. I suppose I could ask for a meeting but then the administration would assume I'm questioning their evaluation. My experience is administrators don't like to be questioned (even if I have a lot more teaching experience :)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 15, 2012 11:36 am

Any advice for a teacher who was hired after the beginning of the school year, end of October, expected to get the room ready (it was empty) learn the curriculum, while teaching students from day one? This is my first observation. I never received the book mentioned, but did get a pre-observation form. This is a difficult school (what's not?!) and the student's behaviors are challenging. A couple teachers have quit in the short time I've been there.

Any words of wisdom? Can anybody describe examples of appropriate behaviors, or something I should make sure the observer sees, for each of the domains. What will happen if I fail?

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