As a student you are evaluated on almost everything these days; including participation, behaviour and even your attendance. But have you ever desired to be the one grading? Indeed it is a thought provoking idea. With all the debate about evaluating teachers on how well their students perform, another idea is starting to surface which could prove equally provocative: judging teachers by what their students think of them.
Teachers have always been judged by very simple metrics; like how many of their students pass their classes.This obviously doesn’t give a full picture of what is going on in classrooms, so increasingly “multiple measures” are being examined. One of the most controversial of these measures is student evaluation of their teachers. So should students be able to grade their teachers?
Students are the only true wealth of a nation and their education is the socio-moral responsibility of the country. To be educated is both their right as well as duty. Educating someone is indeed a difficult task because it requires one to be skilled and thorough in their field. This is the job of teachers, and since students are a nation’s resources, teachers are expected to give them their best, so that they (the students) can give the nation their best. States around the world are trying to better assess how teachers are performing in classrooms. They are primarily using standardized test scores and observations by administrators. But shouldn’t students be included in the conversation too? After all, aren’t they the ones who spend the most time with their teachers.
If the system of grading of teachers by the students is introduced, the teachers and the administration of the institute will come to know about the performance of the teachers. If this works out, then the teacher will receive positive feedback, and that can do wonders to their self confidence. The teacher will begin to understand what they are doing right, and how to implement that properly in future years. Also, the educator will know what they did wrong so as not to repeat mistakes that previously hindered their grade as a teacher.
Accountability is a two-way street Teachers are accountable to students for creating an environment that fosters learning. They do this with their attitude, knowledge, maturity, sensitivity, respect, judgment, enthusiasm, connection, etc. That’s a lot to bring to the table and they should be graded on how well they are able to bring it or if they leave some of it behind.
Students have the best firsthand feedback on how teachers are doing and if they are making school or college an uncomfortable, inappropriate, or overly difficult experience. In what other job would this even be a question? For example, of course the public wants to judge the performance of construction workers because if you don’t they don’t need to do well at their job, and the public are the best critics for the construction workers. Similarly the student is the teacher’s best critic and feedback of the students helps the teacher to improve their methods and realize that students are capable of teaching too.
The main parameter for grading teachers should not be their looks or amount of homework they give. The focus should be on the performance of teaching. Is the method of teaching comprehensible to each and every student, instead of a select group? Are the teachers simply following an extremely passive teaching-learning method instead of active discussions? This form of grading should be readily acceptable to both students and teachers. There is also a scenario to be considered, where the teacher might be having immense knowledge of his/her subject, but may not be equally effective in communicating it; this leads to a wastage of time, resources and skills for both students and teachers. Specially in Indian context where criticising elders is considered a digression from normal etiquettes; a system of anonymous feedback can serve as an effective means for self improvement of faculty members without creating a bias even from the educator’s side. In every organisation, the subordinates get to grade their higher ups and have one on one discussions with them, and try to work out terms of agreement. The same should be applied in schools and colleges too.
To conclude, students should be able to collectively and responsibly grade their teachers in a fair way. It is a promising concept and will yield surprisingly good results if refined and applied with the right conditions. The future of the country depends upon how well the students are taught and nurtured. The system of grading of teachers may prove to be a boon for the institutions who aim to nurture the “hope of tomorrow”.
This write up was submitted by Shaurya Gulati (II Year)