Essay: Addressing

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¶ … Classroom Situation

Dynamics of the Situation

The principal in this classroom scenario has twice visited Ms. Paulson's classroom (during a class session) and found that her classroom discipline was inadequate. Meanwhile a parent is upset (and has written a letter to the superintendent) because her daughter apparently viewed several disturbing pornographic images in the Computer Technology Class. As an introduction to this essay, it should be noted that though the principal did notice gaps in Ms. Paulson's ability to manage and control her classroom, he did not mention his concern to her in subsequent meetings (nor did he have a follow-up meeting with her, it is assumed).

Was this problem in Ms. Paulson's classroom the result of an inadequate evaluation by the principal? In part, yes, the principal is culpable in this matter.

Certainly it can be assumed that the new principal has not been thorough in his review of Ms. Paulson and her abilities. Why? First of all, he has not formally evaluated Ms. Paulson, he simply visited (dropped in on) her classroom a couple times. There are important formal steps that a principal must take in order to embrace the best professional policies. A new principal should not rely on an evaluation from last school year but rather he should conduct his own evaluation according to accepted legal and district policy guidelines.

A principal has a duty and a legal responsibility to supervise and evaluate teachers; failure to do that will eventually show up on the principal's own evaluation. But moreover, if a teacher is found to be incompetent or lacking in an important fundamental skill that all teachers are expected to have, the principal's duty is to follow through with an evaluation -- and with sanctions if necessary -- that follows all the rules and guidelines in the state of Connecticut.

An outside professional consultant or competent educational observer coming into this situation and being appraised of everything that has happened would certainly lay some blame on the principal for not fully evaluating Ms. Paulson. The consultant would know that the evaluation program at this middle school was inadequate because evaluations aren't done just to see how well a teacher is doing in a particular class.

What should an evaluation program look like? What has the principal in this instance failed to implement in terms of a solid evaluation program? The evaluation program should actually be part of the "development assessment" relating to the instructional competency of the faculty (Dunklee, et al., 2006).

The whole idea is not about punishment vs. promotion. Evaluations are not designed just decide whether a teacher should be tenured, or whether a teacher should be punished for mistakes; rather, there is a definite development assessment that is supposed to take place because the principal is obliged to perform "clinical supervision," Dunklee writes (93). Another part of the evaluation involves a rating of the teacher's abilities and skills. This is a matter of "overall accountability" that goes along with granting or denying tenure or promotion, or in the sense of renewing a teacher contract (Dunklee).

Teacher evaluations have to match the educational goals of the school, and those evaluations must match "…the educational goals, management style, concept of teaching, and community values" of the school (Dunklee, 93). The evaluation should be presented to the teacher in a formal meeting with the principal, and it wasn't done in this case. In fact the whole evaluation process should be "continuous," and there should be good communication between the principal doing the evaluating and the teacher being evaluated.

Was this a case of negligence? On the part of the teacher, principal or district?

This incident reflects negligence on the part of the principal, the teacher, and the district as well. The principal was negligent because he failed to follow up on concerns he had while dropping in on Ms. Paulson's class; to wit, he should have conducted a formal evaluation of Ms. Paulson and thus could have exchanged ideas and had dialogue with Ms. Paulson in order to determine if she is truly competent to handle this technology class. He should have had a very experienced IT person interview Ms. Paulson to determine her qualifications; she was just a substitute that happened to inherit the position so in fact she never applied for the job or went through the district's HR procedures and protocol.

Ms. Paulson was also negligent because she cannot allow students to access her computer at any time for… [END OF PREVIEW]

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