Teachers have some of the most important jobs that anyone can ever have, they also have the potential to be some of the most important people to ever enter a person’s life. Even still, the relationship between teacher and student can become problematic, and oftentimes there’s nothing to be done to ﬁx it. This is the reason why teachers should be graded by their students, not only will it force teachers to have better relationships with students, but it will also take power away from unfair teachers, and it will help schools with understanding, evaluating, and recruiting their employees.
The relationship between a teacher and a student is an important one. This very relationship could completely change a person’s outlook on a given subject. Unfortunately, according to several students, their relationships with educators have the potential to be toxic. There was a survey taken by 414,000, six-12th-grade students that asked if, “teachers care about them as individuals,” according to the students, 52 percent said “No.” So more than half of them said their teachers did not care about them. They also asked if they, “felt teachers cared if they were absent from school,” 55 percent of students said no. According to a survey from 66,000 students, 54 percent of the students felt they were not viewed as “a valued member of their school,” Peter DeWitt. These are pretty alarming statistics, the fact that less than half of students feel like they really matter to their schools and teachers, does not say good things. Clearly, we are in need of something new to shake things up. Teachers should be graded by their students. Not only would this force teachers to have better relationships with their students, but it would force teachers to create higher quality classes where students learn as much as possible.
Students also feel as if their peers aren’t always treated equally. This is alarming because parents are paying tax money for their kids to be educated, but if they’re not treated fairly, their tax money isn’t being used to its full potential. According to NPR, a parent of a high school student in West Virginia sued a teacher because of an unfairly graded biology project. This shows that unfair grading is a thing that happens. “For the most part, teachers are barely qualiﬁed to make autonomous decisions about grading practices,” according to Edutopia. The reason why they say this is because “those decisions include a wide range of considerations,” this can make it easier to hide malicious intent. They listed a few which included: “Factors that determine (the) grade, including but not limited to, attendance, behavior, participation, effort, achievement, extra credit, etc,” and “late/missing work policies.” Grading on behavior and work policies can leave a lot of gray areas where teachers can grade based off of bias. Educators have absolute power over a student’s future plans. Lord Acton, the 19th-century British historian, once said: “Power tends to corrupt, (while) absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We have to enforce a balance of power or else things can get out of hand.
When applying for jobs there’s almost always a requirement to get an endorsement from your former employers and coworkers. The idea being, these people are most likely to know whether or not you’re good at doing your job. When it comes to teachers this is not the case. Nobody is more qualiﬁed to know about the skill of a teacher other than the person the teacher is teaching. Without knowing how students feel about certain teachers, it’s like a shot in the dark when choosing one to contract with for hire. This is especially a problem considering America’s schools, “in 2014, the US spent an average of $16,268 a year to educate a pupil from primary through tertiary education,” according to The Guardian. We are overpaying compared to most countries, something needs to change. Also, a survey brought up earlier asked kids if they, “felt that they had a voice in their school,” only forty-seven percent of students said yes. Meaning, 53% of students feel like they don’t have a voice in their school. That’s more than half. Students would have a say in who’s educating them, which they should in the ﬁ rst place, and schools can be better educated when hiring.
Some may say that students aren’t mature enough to really understand the gravity of what they’re doing, or say they might give a teacher a bad grade for a petty reason like wanting to have less homework. This is not completely untrue, however with most students, this is most likely not the case. I think this would not work with the lower grades, but high schoolers are in the process of preparing for the rest of their lives. This is evident because according to Study.com, “People who lack educational degrees are more likely to be limited to basic jobs in service, manufacturing and construction industries… employees with a high school education may secure jobs with good beneﬁts, college graduates typically fare better, entering higher-level careers with greater salaries,” and high school is mainly preparing you to apply and study in college. Also many people agree that technology is making kids more mature, Daily Mail Online states, “Kids are growing faster today – and it’s all down to technology.” Students are clearly more than capable of grading teachers fairly.
Also if there are students who grade unfairly in their school, there are always ways to give those statistics more context. You can compare teachers grades to other teachers worldwide, in their school, or even just in their grade. A system similar to this is already implemented for students, and it seems to work pretty decently. Teacher grading will probably even work better, since there are less teachers than students in schools. Administrators can look at them more closely. The government could also put laws in place scaring students from grading unfairly, or they could even rate using government mandated material (sort of like the SAT), before grading in order to achieve the same effect. The worry people have of students not taking it seriously is completely unnecessary. Lastly, there’s also evidence to support that something like this is helpful for teachers. There was a school that implemented a system like this and their principal said the following, “It can build anxiety and concern as to how it will be used,” he said. “But once we have gotten into it, I think they’ve appreciated the feedback and even made some real changes.”
Clearly, there are no real downsides to a method like this. This is precisely why teachers not only should be graded, but need to be graded to improve the entire education system. They have one of the most important jobs that anyone has, and they can be some of the most important people to enter someone’s life. The relationship between teacher and student can sometimes become problematic. Grading the teachers will ﬁ x this. If you are a student and you feel as if you don’t have much say in decisions in your school, or teachers, consider talking to your school’s staff and suggest an internal system like this. In a recent poll about the current Los Angeles Unified School District Teachers Union Strike, 65% of the survey participants support the walk out. Did anybody ask for student input?