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Should Students Be Allowed To Grade Their Teachers

Students are the only true wealth of a nation and their education is the socio-moral responsibility of the country. To be educated is both their right as well as duty. From the gurukuls to the modern day schools, teaching and learning methodologies have taken a quantum leap. It is debated whether a system of grading of teachers by students should be introduced in schools to improve the learning and teaching environment. Let us observe the pros and cons of this idea and decide.

If the system of grading of teachers by the school students is introduced, the teachers and the administration of the school will come to know about the performance of the teachers. It will give them an insight into the minds of the students and show whether the teachers are successful in getting their lessons understood by the students. It will evaluate whether the class atmosphere is conducive to aid their learning. It will measure the satisfaction level of the students. It will also encourage the good teachers to continue their efforts and motivate themselves. It will also expose those who are not doing enough and will lead them to correct their teaching mythologies as well as their attitude towards students . Thus the quality of teaching will certainly improve.

Grading to measure the professional performance is very common these days in all the fields. So why not evaluate the performance of teachers by the grading given by the student? Many times students have problems with a teacher's attitude but do not know whom to approach and how. The grading system will help them raise their voice by grading their teachers. It will make the lead towards positive changes at schools.

But are the school kids mature enough to grade their teachers? Kids are young and inexperienced. They may not be able to judge correctly whether a certain teacher is good for them or not. Their parameters of grading may be too shallow. They may like or dislike their teachers depending upon the amount of homework he/she gives, the easiness of his tests, the leniency of the marking, their appearance, temper and such other things that appeal to the students and make the teacher a "favorite" among kids but do not generally reveal his effectiveness. But such an attitude is not good for the students in the long run. The grading may threaten the teachers and they may even change their attitude to score good with such students as their grade may be likely to spell the course of their teaching career. They may focus more on getting the right grades to sustain themselves in the competitive job market rather focusing on teaching the students with sincerity.

Besides students are not administrators. Giving them such power to grade their teachers will also give them the opportunity to misuse it for their interest. They may lose respect for their teachers. It may also pave the way for staffroom politics and thus render the system useless. Also it may lead to students being penalized for having given bad grades to some teacher. They may have to face the consequences for having dared to give low grades.

But with certain conditions and modifications, it can be made useful and free of faults. First of all, grading should be done by students who are above 10 yrs of age since those who are less than 10 may not understand the process very well. Secondly, students should be asked to mention the reasons for giving the grades to respective teachers. Grading process should include the parents to be part of it to make the grading meaningful. The reflection of the parents' wisdom in the grades will make the system as useful as it can be. Their involvement will make the children more responsible towards the whole procedure.

It is also very important to consider the parameters of grading. This includes his/her behavior-helping or rude, language - polite or abusive, temper, the way he keeps the class disciplined, his punctuality, utilization of time, paying attention to the whole class and not some students in particular and fair attitude to all students. A detailed grading system would ensure that all relevant points are being reported and the problematic areas are being brought to notice in a specific and direct way. Thus the entire score of the teacher will not suffer because of one wrong trait. It will also be easy for the teachers to recognize that trait and correct it by improving upon their methods. The school administration should also see that they are able to differentiate the right feedback from the wrong feedback.

Thus the students, parents and the school head should collectively and responsibly grade the teachers in a fair way. It is a promising concept and will yield surprisingly good results if refined and applied with the right conditions as proposed above. The future of the country depends upon how well the students are nurtured when they are in their formative years. The system of grading of teachers may prove to be a boon for the institutions who aim to nurture the "hope of tomorrow".

Anubha Gupta