Thursday, May 07, 2009

Attendance and Evaluations

When I worked for Doubletree Hotels to pay for college, my annual performance review assessed my performance on many criteria, including attendance. The recent National Council on Teacher Quality examination of Hartford Public schools explores numerous facets of the system. One in particular stood out to me. As my colleagues and I work to rewrite our Teacher Evaluation Plan, a difference of opinion has developed regarding attendance. The current contract allots 15 days for illness and 5 days for personal reasons.
One group is asking for our new evaluation plan to include attendance in the criteria used to evaluate teachers. The NCTQ had this to say about Hartford:

"Make teacher attendance a mandatory component of teacher evaluations. Teacher attendance and tardiness are allowed to factor into teacher evaluations, but Hartford should make this an official part of the evaluation instrument" (7).

Our union represantation believes no need exists for such a provision. In an effort to hear from teachers, I pose the question to my great collection of colleagues and readers. Should attendance be a part of evaluating teachers? (Notice I said "a part.")


At 3:38 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

When considering the inclusion of attendance as part of the evaluation procedure there are considerations that I would say are needed for caution.
First, there are privacy issues of health situations that may not be open to assist the interpretation of attendance in such a teacher evaluation plan.
Second, the evaluation plans are written to coincide with the CDSE framework of teacher and other certified personnel evaluation plans.

So the mention of attendance issues may (or may not) be addressed in evaluations in future and not portray accuracy in the professionalism of the employee.

Certainly the absence of the primary educator in any program seems likely to cause a lower level of learning to take place.

I suspect one of a union's primary purpose is to protect members from capricious attacks and can not allow the possibility of statements that the employee can not defend without opening privacy issues.

At 3:53 PM , Anonymous eiela said...

I think it is reasonable and valid for attendance to be a part of a teacher evaluation. It's difficult to perform any job well if you're not there regularly. I know that even with the best substitute, it's not the same as me being there. And there is really no excuse for a plethora of tardies for a teacher. (Unless coming late after a doctor's appointment counts as a tardy in your system--I'm thinking of lateness of the "I overslept" variety). Everybody has days that start badly, but it should be reasonable to at least include something about being on time in the evaluation instrument.

The privacy consideration is a concern. However, wouldn't a supervisor usually know the reasons for absences? Not particulars, necessarily, but whether it's a sick day or a personal day, at least.

At 6:27 PM , Anonymous Jude said...

It's difficult to believe that attendance could be that much of a problem. Of my colleagues, I can't think of one who abuses personal days or is ever tardy. For that reason, I'd consider only including more important issues (of course, I'm missing 4.5 days this month--one activity related, three to lead cemetery tours for 3rd graders in another district and 1/2 to give my 5th grade Civil War presentation in another district--but beyond that, I'm there early and late).

At 8:52 AM , Blogger Margaret English said...

I can understand why the union is against such an idea. After all, a union's primary purpose is to potect and support the members.

However, my personal opinion is that both attendance and punctuality should be an official part of a teacher's evaluation. I say this because every school I have worked in has consisted of a core group of staff who are absent/late more frequently than the rest. I appreciate that many absences are indeed for genuine reasons but an equal number are not.

Staff absence in a school creates massive problems - for colleagues and students - yet I have known lots of teachers who think nothing of having regular duvet days. It drives me nuts- particularly when I am required to step in and teach their class!

Perhaps the inclusion of these factors on an official evalution would them think twice about their flippancy towards attendance at work and therefore cut down on absenteeism.

At 5:26 PM , Blogger Karen said...

One of my biggest pet peeves is when admin reprimands teachers who may be late (but not missing any class time), but never take into consideration the time the teacher stays AFTER contract time, especially when they are helping students. So I would have an issue with attendance being part of a performance evaluation, especially if it ONLY looked at attendance and tardiness and didn't take into account staying late. Overall, I don't like it.

At 6:17 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

fair enough readers. I go back and forth. In reality, I don't care if they want it in there because I don't ever intend to have an issue with attendance. But, Karen is right. A teacher may stay two hours after the end of day bell rings and show up "late" according to the contracted hours.
I have to believe that the intelligent administrators realize those things.

At 1:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karen is right, are you kidding me? I start time is a start time. Do you allow your students to walk into your classrooms any time they want?

I have no patience for teachers who report to school late. You accept the responsibility of having a job and that always includes getting there on time or you don't. If you don't you get a poor evaluation.


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