Tips for both administrators and teachers that make formal observations stress-free, productive, and informative
Spring is fast approaching, so you know what that means.
– Formal evaluations –
Here's what most educators get wrong about evaluations: It's stressful for both teachers AND administrators? Why?
Considering the consequences in and out of the classroom for a poor evaluation, there's enormous pressure for teachers to get it right. On the other hand, administrators sometimes struggle to give productive feedback in a manner that doesn't cause professional discouragement in teachers.
There are numerous things both parties can do to have an excellent evaluation. Here are a few of our favorites:
Understand that you're in this together. If you approach this process as a team and collaborate on a plan, you reduce the chance to "point fingers" if something goes wrong.
Get a clear understanding of what makes a successful evaluation. These expectations should ideally be communicated during the pre-conference. What are the domains and elements that lead to a high score? What behaviors lead to a low score? If you’re working together, you can collaborate on which part of the rubric fits your professional goals so you can co-create a plan that ensures success.
For teachers: always teach like you’re being evaluated. At first, it may be difficult because it feels weird. Most instructional frameworks contain teaching behaviors that make meaningful impacts on learning outcomes. Over time, these teaching strategies will become second nature, making your evaluations a breeze!
For administrators: visit classrooms frequently. Showing up for the formal observation shouldn't be the first time you see your teachers teach. In most evaluation models, there are at least two informal observations. Go beyond what is required and visit classrooms to show teachers that you appreciate all the work they do.