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How to Write a Rebuttal for a Teacher Evaluation

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A negative teacher evaluation demands a written rebuttal to correct errors and misleading statements. "You need a written record of your dissent," says employment lawyer Bill O'Brien. "Without it, if the situation advances to the point of litigation, you've essentially got no ground to stand on." Teachers who feel they have been unfairly evaluated should research their school district's rebuttal guidelines, speak specifically to the negative evaluation comments and maintain a professional attitude throughout the process.

Give yourself time to calm down before writing your rebuttal. If you act while angry, your words are likely to sound defensive and unprofessional.

Check your teacher contract for your school's rebuttal procedure. Many contracts require filing within a certain time limit. Others require filing a grievance along with the written rebuttal. If you are a member of a teachers union, your building representative can provide advice.

Start your rebuttal with the date of the evaluation, the name of the evaluator and a request that your document be attached to the evaluation in your employment file.

Review the evaluation carefully and highlight misleading comments or errors. Use the specific evaluation language as you compose your response.

Supply evidence that supports your position. Your rebuttal will carry more weight if you can document your claims. For example, if you asked the principal for more training and support in handling difficult students before you were rated low in classroom management, point out your proactive attempt to fix the problem. If the administration failed to follow contract procedures in any way, describe when and how.

Request a meeting with your principal to discuss your written rebuttal. This shows you are a professional who puts the past behind him and focuses on ways to make the future more positive.

Tip

Consider asking to be reevaluated by a different administrator. A rebuttal may be filed after any written or verbal assessment, not just as a response to an evaluation.

Warning

Avoid discussing the low evaluation with your colleagues. Complaining to others will look unprofessional. Refusing to sign the evaluation may be considered insubordination. Your signature means you have read and understand the comments, not that you agree with them. As a last resort, call an employment lawyer for advice.

About the Author

Lauryn Macy Roberts is a Midwesterner who began writing professionally in 2009 when she coauthored a grant-writing book. Since then, her work has appeared in various online publications. Roberts has taught English and composition for several years. She earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin and is completing a Master of Arts in professional writing at Mount Mary College.

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