Dr. Sid T. Womack's ATU Home Page______________
Office: Crabaugh 211
Summer 1 2015 office hours:
9 - 11 Mondays through Friday. I am typically in the office much more than these official office hours. Most days, drop-in visits are acceptable.
I had an enjoyable career in education for 43 years. In 34 years of teacher education, I helped to prepare enough teachers and administrators to minister to well over one million children. I encouraged and gave technical assistance to more than a dozen people who are walking around today with their Ed. D.s or Ph.D.s. Today I am giving of myself mainly through the Dover church of Christ. I enjoy hobbies such as gardening, archery, and hunting.
Teacher evaluation has come a very long way since the 1970s. For a seemingly endless amount of time most teacher evaluation forms centered in one way or the other around the likeability issue. By the end of the 1990s, the research was showing that assessing teachers on how likeable they were was a path leading to nowhere. There were too many teachers that were well liked but whose students couldn't do anything.
Teachers, most of them, are reasonably intelligent people. When they looked at the evaluation forms and saw that success had nothing to do with student learning but everything about being well-heeled and well-liked, they put away any kind of negative feedback to students and concentrated on becoming the "host with the most.".
Since the NCATE redesign of 2000, teacher evaluation has centered on how much students learned instead of how personable or likeable teachers are. If what we want students to do is learn -- not just be well entertained -- we need teachers who will focus in that direction.
Likeabililty and efficacy (the ability to get students to learn) are barely correlated. They're not negatively correlated and there is no reason for a teacher to become as obnoxious as possible in order to get students to learn. But being liked cannot become the goal for a teacher. Getting students to learn is the real job. Occasionally that means telling students that they did not perform well on the last assignment or test. It may mean telling them they need to try harder. That's not the favorite part of the job for any teacher and it wasn't for me.
The challenge of teaching is to be the teacher one's students will like 5, 10, 20 years later in life . . . not necessarily who they like at the moment. We teach for the future, not for the present.
If effectiveness is the test of the teacher, I feel like I passed that test during my 34 years in teacher education. It was a very rare occasion that any student did not pass the parts of the Praxis that I was responsible for communicating. The times when my former students showed the most affection to me was when they had been teaching long enough to try out the ideas that I had given them.
A student who I had had in fourth grade looked me up on the Internet and thanked me for being his teacher -- 35 years later! Those are the moments teachers live for.
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