Teacher vs. Principal’s Evaluations. They’re Just Different.

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Back to School.  Some are Happy.  Some are Sad.School is about to start.

This means a variety of things. The first thing it means is I’m already way behind schedule.

And secondly, I am getting grumpy. Or grumpier (see I’m falling hopelessly behind… how is it possible for this to be happening and school hasn’t even started???).

Even worse… stores all across America are putting school supplies on SALE.

This is code for: they would rather get rid of these pencils than count them.

Everything must go.

Paper, binders, book bags, erasers, glue sticks, and a bunch of other stuff that will eventually be lost or thrown away (don’t parents wonder where all the stuff they paid for goes??)

If you don’t believe me visit your local school’s lost and found… it has more merchandise than a Wal-mart.

Things are changing. School starts in a month (for every worried school administrator there are 400 moms filled with joy).

How is all of this possible?

Stores need to make room for the Christmas items. This my friends is a sad commentary on our society.

Before I can focus on the impending holiday season (only 5 shopping months left!), I need to get school started.

This is a complicated process.

Hiring teachers, assigning students to classes, buying some new ties… the list goes on and on.

Once the students arrive, there are certain things that have to be done.

This includes the E word.

I am almost hesitant to type it because it’s so heinous.

If you are easily offended this might be the time to look away… or at least send the kids out of the room.

Here it goes. You’ve been warned.

Evaluations.

There I said it (or typed it…).

It’s amazing how many people dread the thought of being evaluated.

And it’s not just teachers. Bus drivers, custodians, coaches, and even principals dread them.

You would think principals wouldn’t mind. Especially since they spend their days evaluating others (and chasing down that kid who stopped up the sink in the bathroom with paper towels).

The others I refer to are mostly teachers.

Some teachers don’t exactly enjoy evaluations. That’s understandable because it’s strange to have someone in your classroom that normally is not there.

Especially when they are taking notes as the teacher is trying to teach a room full of students who know the principal is taking notes.

It’s just not natural (much like expecting a junior high boy not to talk when there’s a sub).

Evaluations must be done, but they are still a little odd.

Most teachers view evaluations as a necessary evil they must experience once a year or even every couple of years.

The good news is teachers are usually evaluated under the best possible circumstances.

They have the opportunity to prepare and make a special lesson.

If all goes well the principal sees them under the best conditions. They are evaluated when they should be at their best.

Principal’s evaluations are different.

And this is something all new principals should know.

They won’t be evaluated when they are at their best. They will be evaluated starting the day they are hired.

And they won’t be evaluated by just one person. They will be evaluated by an entire community.

More importantly, this happens when they aren’t at their best. They will be evaluated when they are at their worst.

Like when they are nervous, mispronounce a name, forget a meeting, wear brown shoes with black trousers, dribble food all over their shirt, or even when they walk down the hall with their dress shirt caught in their fly (I can assure you none of these have ever happened to me… as far as you know).

Principal’s evaluations never formally start and they certainly never end.

So good luck.

But don’t worry. You should be fine.

Just remember to check your fly before you walk down the hallway (and yes, I learned this the hard way).

If you need me I will be doing all of my Christmas shopping this year out of Lost and Found. I have my eye on 12 jackets, 27 t-shirts, 3 pairs of glasses, some tube socks, and a pair of Pittsburgh Steelers sweat bands. Some of them don’t even smell… that bad.

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4 Responses to “Teacher vs. Principal’s Evaluations. They’re Just Different.”


  1. Bill
    on Jul 25th, 2009
    @ 8:15 am

    Such wit! Thank you for your perspective (and warning) on evaluations, especially as an administrator. As a teacher, I really don’t mind being evaluated (although my blood pressure and pulse are slightly elevated). If and when I become an administrator, the evaluation game takes on many new rules and facets. I appreciate your candor and advice.

    Have fun shopping!


  2. Pat
    on Jul 26th, 2009
    @ 1:06 pm

    I can’t tell you enough how much I hate being evaluated! For some reason when being formally evaluated I would practically break out in hives, lose my voice (and my mind), and feel paralyzed with fear. I knew I was a good teacher and I think (and hope) my admins knew it too but just the thought of being evaluated me made me want to throw up! I finally figured out what I had to do. I invited all the admins and friends to eat lunch in one area of my room where I had a microwave and fridge, even if I was teaching class. The last 2 years I was actually in the old home ec room with 6 kitchen units so that worked out really well for me. My class learned to ignore visitors and so did I. Since admin was always in my room at different times, I stopped worrying that they were evaluating me and I never knew about it until it was over. I think they got a better picture of how I taught this way than just coming in for 2 evaluations throughout the year.


  3. Dee
    on Jul 27th, 2009
    @ 10:51 am

    Thank you for this great post. You described the evaluation process perfectly.


  4. podgorani
    on Jul 28th, 2009
    @ 2:06 am

    we are judged every day as principals…..
    but we judge too…
    so we just need to be honest and get on with it

    http://wedontknowhowluckyweare.blogspot.com/2009/05/appraisal-rigour-or-rubbish.html

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.