The Teacher Becomes the Student—
by LaDawna Cherepovich
My first year of teaching was both exhilarating and stressful. I was eager to teach my kindergarten students new skills, and to
inspire them with the wonder of learning. I was also anxious about the formal evaluations. I wanted my lessons to be educational as well as exciting.
I received positive feedback on the first two lessons the principal evaluated. The third evaluation, a language arts lesson, didn’t go
as well. The principal said the lesson “could have been better,” and shared a list of activities she thought I could have used to
For my fourth evaluation the principal asked to see another language arts lesson. I worked hard to incorporate most of her
suggestions from the previous evaluation, and I thought the class went well. I was sorely mistaken! Among other things, my principal wrote that my lesson “lacked depth.” I questioned her about this because I had incorporated many of her ideas from the third evaluation. She then told me that there was “no educational value to the lesson.” I remember going home and stewing over everything she said. How dare she say there was no educational value to my teaching! That’s not true. And what about her inadequacies as a principal. Ranting about her failings just made me angrier, and more determined that I was right, and she was wrong. Most of all, I was afraid. I was afraid that her negative evaluation might cost me my job.
The district policy was that if a teacher disagrees with the evaluator’s finding, the disagreement must be submitted in writing.
So that is exactly what I did. I cited the specific objectives that I covered from the state curriculum. I pointed out that the principal left before I finished the lesson. In addition, I detailed the principal’s suggestions from the previous evaluation that I had incorporated into my lesson. I then took my statement back to the principal to be included with her evaluation.
Later, I talked to a more seasoned teacher about my experience.