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Angelo Angelo is online now
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,212
Senior Member

Angelo
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,212
Senior Member
Spying
Old 05-18-2014, 06:37 PM
 
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Ah... the old "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" argument.

There's a difference between appropriate scrutiny and spying. Spying in schools is rarely a reliable source upon which to base a qualitative assessment of an educator's effectiveness. Things that can happen while spying:

a) witnessing a comment, decision, action, etc. out of context and making inferences that may or may not be accurate

b) confirmation bias: if we are predisposed to dislike a particular person, we may report selectively on evidence that appears to confirm that predisposition

c) reporting rumor or innuendo as fact

I've seen a few too many smear campaigns against good teachers in my time to trust spying as a valid practice to ensure accountability. In any event, I stand by my assertion that reporting on colleagues should only be done in very serious cases (where we have witnessed misconduct, not heard it through the grapevine). And even in those cases, the accused has the right to confront his or her accuser. Going behind a colleague's back is cowardly and childish.

Moreover, unless I'm someone's immediate superior, I am no one to judge their competency as an educator. I would certainly report a case of abuse, as I'm legally mandated to do, and even then, I would be upfront and not attempt to do so anonymously. But it isn't my place - legally or ethically - to evaluate a colleague's teaching; I think I'll work on the plank in my own eye before pointing out the speck of dust in my neighbor's.

I'm always amazed, too, by teachers who form judgments of their colleagues based on student talk. I always say, really? You're suddenly going to trust the word of some 16-year-olds? Some teachers seem to think that if enough students make claims about a teacher's performance or if the "good kids" back up the claims, that there's enough smoke to infer a fire. Personally, I take everything I hear with a grain of salt -- as Othello says, "Show me the occular proof!"
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