Report cards, final exams, check-ups at the doctor’s office—none of these probably evokes especially fond memories in your mind. For some, they may even conjure memories of panic or a pit-in-the-stomach feeling. And yet, all of these “instruments of torture” are an engrained part of our society. Why? Because we know that human nature demands evaluation. How much would children learn if they never had to face a quiz, test, or report card? How many adults would get on a treadmill if it weren’t for the doctor’s urging at their yearly physical?
Let’s face it. We get more done when someone is urging us forward.
On a similar note, we often improve what we do when a second set of eyes points out things we would normally miss. That’s one of the beauties of being a part of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12). It gives us access to invaluable advice from our brothers and sisters.
So, what does all this mean for us as teachers? It means that we should be seeking outside input on where we can improve as teachers. What are some ways you can do this?
Group Publishing’s Takeout Training for Teachers by Keith Johnson offers four possible sources of input that you could tap:
- Your Ministry Leader. As terrifying as it might seem, you can ask a coordinator or director over you to come to your classroom and watch you teach. Then ask them to tell you one area you could improve and one area in which you are doing well.
- Your Students. Now, this one sounds REALLY scary, but you could give your students a short survey and ask them to rate you on a scale of 1-4 in areas like enthusiasm, making things interesting, caring about your students, making the Bible understandable, and so on.
- Other Teachers. Ask a fellow teacher to evaluate you. Have them tell you one thing to improve and one thing you’re doing well.
- Parents of Students. Get feedback from parents on how they’ve seen their child grow or change since being in your class. You could do this verbally, or through a note that you give parents to take home and fill out comments on.
Our natural response is to cringe at evaluation. Ignorance is bliss—especially when we’re full of pride. But Scripture says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” (Proverbs 27:6). Even if evaluation hurts, it’s better to know and grow than to ignore and bore!
Will you take the evaluation challenge?