Mediocre Teaching is Nourished by
Institutional Deficiencies and Supervisory Shortcomings
Fitchburg State College
There are plenty of mediocre teachers in schools today and in many cases their performance will never be addressed. Until the institutional deficiencies are improved, one cannot hope to see much change. The scarcity of supervisors to conduct thorough evaluations, and the lack of mentoring of these administrators leads to deficiencies in the entire ‘system’ of evaluations and permits mediocre teaching. On a more supervisory level, lack of training for how to conduct and follow-through on evaluations creates a huge problem. In some cases the supervisor is more lenient on certain individuals in order to avoid a contentious situation, and in others, the supervisor lets other experiences with a teacher cloud his or her thoughts of the teacher’s actual performance in the classroom. These institutional deficiencies and supervisory shortcomings have led to and will continue to allow mediocre teachers to be present in classrooms.
An enormous deficiency in the institution of schooling is that the primary evaluators of teachers are the principal and assistant principal. In addition to the supervision of staff members, these administrators are responsible for resolving discipline issues, monitoring students’ academic performance, evaluating staff, implementing curriculum frameworks, conducting standardized tests, and communicating with parents. Sometimes the last thing on the list, and sadly so, is the evaluation of teachers within the building. Faced with the number of tasks demanded of them, principals often don’t make the appropriate time to talk with teachers about improving teaching.
Kim Marshall writes about this exact limitation facing principals today. He places principals into three categories when it comes to...