Assessment is always a hot-button issue regarding education. It’s particularly a tender subject when dealing with paying customers, but what happens should you choose to administer teacher evaluations amongst your faculty as well? This can also create a bit of angst for everyone involved. However, should you choose to implement this, it is essential to keep in mind the most diplomatic ways of going about it. Remind teachers it’s less about assessing their skills and more about ensuring you are all on the same page in terms of the training you are providing your students.
Where does one begin with this idea? Well, it’s a hard call and honestly some teachers, maybe younger or newer won’t mind so much as some of the more seasoned ones. In a sense, you are basically critiquing the very assets you loved when you hired them. So what’s changed? Well, if a teacher has been with you for quite some time, this process will definitely keep them on their toes a bit and maybe awaken some new blood pumping through their veins. We all get into a comfort zone over the years and while dependability and really “knowing” your teachers is invaluable, you do want to ensure nobody gets in that rut.
A formal assessment like student evaluation forms might be a bit off-putting, so expect some resistance. Therefore, why not approach evaluations as more of an opportunity to meet; where you can all discuss what’s going on, on both ends. This is a chance for teachers to self-assess and be candid about what they’re feeling too; relating to you as a peer. They can then confide in what they are feeling really good about in terms of their accomplishments and where they would like to change things up a bit for themselves. Whether it be new ideas they have, the need for more professional development, how they are relating and talking to the students, their punctuality, class content, etc. The teacher evaluation is a good “check-in;” to see if they are happy with things at the studio, concerns they have and ideas they may not have time to discuss with you during the hustle and bustle of the season.
Teacher evaluations should be more about dialogue and creating awareness so faculty and studio owner are on the same page. This meeting can be as casual as breakfast in the faculty room or taking the teacher out to lunch. It is a great time for you to relay your thoughts and feelings on how you think they are doing. Things you are grateful for that they provide your business, how the parents and kids rave about them, their choreographic work and also places you would like to see them grow. If a serious issue is on the table for discussion then a more formal meeting might be best, but the agenda here should be less about judgment and critique and more about how you would like them to continue to shape and grow your business. If you feel certain lesson plans are not challenging enough or choreography is dated, this needs to be addressed. If punctuality, appearance, appropriateness with student socializing and things of this nature are an issue, these things also need to be nipped in the bud before getting out of control. Always keep it an open-ended dialogue and again, if a teacher is a real asset to you, this is a perfect time to have a “catch-up” to let them know that. It’s nice for them to hear that they are appreciated and will do wonders for their self-motivation as well.
Everyone needs to be happy and content where they work for the well-being of the business. There is no reason you, as studio owner isn’t entitled to this evaluation process. Consequently, this open communication may shed some light for you as well over things that might have escaped your attention. The key is to set an example of positivity, productivity and success among your faculty and students alike. Then…..the sky’s the limit for everyone!
See you in the dance studio,