The vast majority of teachers in Australia DO NOT get enough feedback. This adds to teacher stress! 9 out of 10 teachers when asked if they are doing a good job respond, “Well I think so! Nobody has said I’m not!” This is a sad indictment on the teaching profession and I believe one of the reasons why the PROFESSION is not as well perceived as it should be.
Great teachers are remembered and highly regarded. However the profession as a whole is seen by many in society as not being held accountable. In many schools teachers work in isolation and are treated the same whether they are high performing or struggling. By treating them all the same and not providing teachers with feedback we are in fact treating them as ‘widgets’.
I recently read a blog post by Timothy Daly of the NY Times where he made the observation of teaching in the United States. “The widget effect degrades the teaching profession. If you do a fantastic job in your classroom, you can’t expect a fast track up the career ladder or even a pat on the back. You’ll get the same formulaic, seniority-based raise each year as the lower-performing teacher down the hall.”
Daly goes on to observe that in many States “If you’re struggling, you can’t expect any feedback to help you get better. You’ll most likely get a ‘satisfactory’ evaluation rating like 99% of your colleagues.”
We need to ensure that the complex issue of recognition for teachers is not abandoned in the debate about teacher performance pay. Whilst I see teacher performance pay to be impossible to fairly and justly allocate, feedback for teachers that are doing a great job and those who need support is essential.