By Akriti Saxena
The Packer (West Fargo, North Dakota)
A child’s K-12 education consists of experiencing different teaching methods, learning styles and study materials. Meanwhile, teachers who often educate students the same way for 15-plus years never receive the opportunity to explore other teaching methods. To distribute the knowledge that students gain throughout the years, students should evaluate their teachers.
Students listen to their teachers for over hundreds of hours a year; it only seems obvious that their opinion and expertise in evaluating teachers is clear and trustworthy. Teaching matters more than anything in a school, and for kids to learn 21st-century skills, teaching has to get better somehow. Through pressure and feedback, a teacher’s chances of improving can greatly alter a classroom’s understanding of the curriculum.
Not only would this system help the teachers grow, but it would benefit students who try to understand the subject through means that do not work for them. In fear of skipping curriculum assigned to them to teach, many teachers compile notes on Powerpoints that students rarely look back on. An evaluation form can introduce teachers to new methods that many students have benefitted from the past. For example, a student can suggest switching from learning through Powerpoint notes to learning through kinesthetic activities that require labs, which can ultimately benefit the entire class.
There is no lack of quality teachers at West Fargo High School, an example being physics teacher Michelle Strand, who won the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) earlier this year. However, evaluating teachers by scheduled classroom observations and student test-score growth does not reveal effective teachers throughout our school.
Students evaluating teachers would turn the tables of education. It has always been the students who take the blame for low average test scores, chaos in the classroom, or behavioral issues. No one asks about the adults who are in control of what happens in the classroom. Let’s start talking and evaluating the teachers of West Fargo High because ultimately, education lies in their hands.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Alejandro