Principals at primary and secondary schools often develop walk-through checklists to assess teacher effectiveness, such as lesson plan implementation, productivity and classroom management. Unannounced, brief assessments are termed "walk-throughs," but principals often sit to observe and record their findings. You can create walk-through checklists to fit specific subjects or make them general enough to apply to any classroom setting. Create a grading scale, such as "1" for highly proficient, "2" for acceptable and "3" for needs improvement, rather than using check marks, if you want quantifiable data for feedback purposes.
Textbooks and Academic Materials
Observe the teacher's use of textbooks, online resources, supplemental materials and manipulatives to instruct students. Consider the effectiveness and relevancy of the materials and note whether academic resources were available to all students in the class.
Assess the teacher's spoken objectives to ensure students have a clear understanding of what they're learning that period. You might ask to see the teacher's written or electronic lesson plans before or after class to ensure her objectives align with curriculum goals.
Examine the teacher's ability to model concepts and provide examples. For example, the teacher should demonstrate how to perform math problems or solve chemistry equations before instructing her students to do so. Evaluate the teacher's use of illustrations and visual aids to support the content.
Evaluate the methods the teacher uses to help students practice concepts they just learned. Consider the teacher's availability to assist students who need additional help and his willingness to provide additional practice when needed. Examine the teacher's techniques for determining how well students grasp the material.
Reteaching and Review
Critique the educator's ability to reteach and review material as needed. For example, if students have numerous questions, assess how effectively the teacher uses alternate methods to explain the material. A teacher should be well versed in the subject, so she can approach the content from several angles.
Pace of Teaching
Observe the instructor's ability to properly pace his lectures, explanations and demonstrations. Students should be able to follow along without feeling rushed to keep up or bored by the sluggish pace. Study student reactions to see if they seem sufficiently engaged or appear overwhelmed or disconnected.
Pay close attention to student-teacher interactions. Examine the teacher's movement around the room, one-on-one interactions with students and general attitude. He should be approachable, available and positive, helping students get the most out of the lesson. Note any questionable behavior, such as focusing on one or two specific students or avoiding all interactions with students.
Examine the instructor's classroom management style, including disciplinary procedures, organization, beginning-of-class and end-of-class routines and techniques for collecting and distributing materials. Look for consistency, adherence to school policies and attentiveness to detail. Downgrade her scores if she loses her authoritative role at any point during the period.
Evaluate the overall appearance of the classroom, taking into consideration the time of day. For example, there will likely be more spiral notebook trimmings or broken crayons on the floor at the end of the day than the beginning. Consider tidiness, organization, decorations, storage and the overall mood of the room; it should be clean, organized and welcoming.
Take note of the classroom culture, including peer interactions, general attitudes and interest in the class. Teachers should promote and enforce acceptance, honesty and respect. Note any misconduct the teacher doesn't properly address, such as foul language, bullying or discourteous remarks. Examine how well students get along with one another and follow classroom rules.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.