As a teacher for 10 years, The Cornerstone’s Angela Watson got pictures labeling her “BESTEST TEACHER EVER” but virtually no feedback from supervisors on how to improve.
In most schools, the unspoken rule amongst teachers is to maintain the status quo, stay under your principal’s radar, and assume that no news is good news.
. . . If teachers receive suggestions for improvement, it’s typically from someone far removed from the classroom context who walks in for 5 minutes, tells her everything she’s doing wrong, and tosses out a list of new mandates that must be in place by the next unscheduled visit. Or, perhaps worse, doesn’t give feedback at all.
Now working as a teaching coach for an educational consulting firm, Watson receives “constructive criticism” from colleagues.
There’s a steady stream of praise, as well, but there are always suggestions for improvement which take me completely out of my comfort zone. It’s certainly harder on the ego than receiving crayon drawings that testify to my awesomeness, but the end result? My professional practice is improving ten times faster than it would have without the constructive expert feedback.
U.S. teachers need feedback, she writes, but many are afraid to expose their work to scrutiny. “This produces a culture of mediocrity which cripples professional growth and prevents teachers from innovating and being recognized for their accomplishments.”