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Coaching and Teacher Evaluation

Coaching and Teacher Evaluation

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson explains the similarities and differences between coaching and teacher evaluation.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And in today's video lesson, we'll dive into the topic "Coaching and Teacher Evaluation." As we learn about this topic, we will work towards one main learning objective. And in this lesson, we'll look at the question-- what are the similarities and differences between coaching and teacher evaluation?

It's extremely important for teachers to have support in their journey in growing and developing as a teacher that betters students' levels of achievement. There are two methods that are used to assist in this process-- teacher evaluation and instructional coaching. We will take a look at both of these in this lesson.

Let's talk first about instructional coaching. This type of coaching is not evaluative in nature. It's much different than an evaluation or being evaluated.

One of the many reasons for this is that, in order to fully and openly accept the feedback, the environment for the teacher must be non-threatening. Communication and descriptive, meaningful feedback are both crucial to this relationship, and they must be present for the teacher to feel as though there is trust and acceptance from the coach. It's essential for the teacher to feel as though they are equal partners with the coach, not as though the coach is grading and evaluating them.

There are many things a coach can do to assist the teacher. It's important for the coach to focus on helping the teacher develop their own understanding of what happened and where to go from there. This can be supported with feedback that describes but does not interpret what was observed. Questions to guide the teacher to these new understandings can be very valuable for coaches to use.

Additionally, it's important for the coach to stay away from focusing only on weaknesses that a teacher might have instructionally. While this may be where they need the most help, doing this could cause frustration and defensiveness. While instructional coaching itself is non-evaluative, a teacher that has had an evaluation may be assigned a coach to help support the areas that need improvement. This does not mean that the coaching relationship changes, however. The coach plays the same role, and it's essential for this coach to have all of the same qualities that we just discussed.

There are a few similarities between coaching and evaluation. Let's talk about these. In both coaching and in evaluation scenarios, the work and performance of teachers observed. Feedback is essential in each of these. In evaluations, the evaluator gives the teacher feedback after the evaluation takes place while in coaching it's the coach giving the feedback after an observation.

Goal setting and identifying specific, meaningful goals are essential to both evaluations and coaching. Each can set the bar for professional development plans and opportunities. And because of this, they can have the same focus area. Sometimes, they can bring forth the same issues or concerns.

There are also some differences in evaluations and instructional coaching. Sometimes, teachers may have choice in whether or not a coach is necessary for support. It's generally a fairly informal process, which differs greatly than teacher evaluations. These are very formal and mandated.

When you work with a coach, the feedback and communications are between yourself and the coach. The information is private, whereas teacher evaluations and the information about a teacher's performance area can be shared with others. Usually, a report is generated, and this data is used to make comparisons.

We've discussed the fact that coaching relationships should be non-evaluative in nature. Coaches guide and support by giving purposeful, descriptive feedback, and teacher and coach should be considered equals in this relationship. Evaluations, on the other hand, involve a teacher being assessed or graded on various components regarding performance levels.

Another difference is that, most of the time, the relationship between coach and teacher continues over a long period of time. These two professionals work to build trust and collaborate over time. With teacher evaluations, interactions are professional but limited and occur fairly quickly. The goal is to give the teacher and evaluator information to be used in creating development plans and goals, but that's where it stops. There is no assistance with making changes and improving skills.

Coaches, on the other hand, continue working with the teacher. They support the goal setting, problem solving, observe, and model. They also give feedback and suggestions over time. There are multiple conferences and observations generally so that the entire process can be supported successfully. Evaluations are meant to be a glimpse of where the teacher is right here and right now.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the question-- what are the similarities and differences between coaching and teacher evaluation? In this lesson, we discussed coaching and teacher evaluations and how they can be the same yet different. They both play such an important role in a teacher's professional development, but they're very different in nature.

Evaluations are a one-time check. What are the teacher's skills, and how effective are their practices right now? Coaching is a relationship or a partnership that builds over time-- with the goal being for the coach to support and assist the teacher in developing and improving.

Now that you're more familiar with this concept, let's reflect. What are your own experiences with instructional coaching and teacher evaluations? How could each of these benefit you as a teacher in professional development?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson "Coaching and Teacher Evaluation." I hope you found value in this video lesson and are able to apply these ideas and resources to your own teaching. Now, it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video.

The Additional Resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want.

Notes on “Coaching and Teacher Evaluation”


(00:00- 00:18) Introduction/Objectives

(00:19- 02:07) Coaching Vs. Evaluation

(02:08- 02:47) Similarities in Coaching and Evaluation

(02:48- 04:30) Differences in Coaching and Evaluation  

(04:31- 05:05) Recap

(05:06- 05:45) Reflection 

Additional Resources

The Coach and the Evaluator

This article warns that the line between coach and evaluator should not be crossed.

Don't Evaluate Teachers, Coach Them

In this article, David Ginsburg stresses the importance of coaching teachers. He stresses that coaching is even more powerful in improving practice than evaluation.