I just received my official evaluation this year. This is where I sit down with my principal and go over what she saw when she came into my class and observed me as I gave a lesson.
In my school, I am officially evaluated every other year. I used to get all nervous when the administrator would walk in to conduct the evaluation, but not anymore.
Well, maybe a little. At least I don’t get tongue-tied or start sweating like I used to.
For those of you new to teaching or preparing to become a teacher, you’re going to have to deal with the official evaluations. These are what administrators use to either recommend that you continue working at that school or to document why you won’t be asked to return next year.
As of now, once you’ve completed two years as a probationary teacher, you become tenured. That is, you can’t be fired without a long drawn our process which most administrators aren’t willing to go through.
There is a movement, however, to eliminate tenure for teachers, making them have to earn their position every year. They’re trying to get rid of lousy teachers more easily. I have my opinions about this, but that’s for another post.
As part of the evaluation process, I had to come up with two professional growth goals that I turned in to my principal at the beginning of the year in our pre-observation meeting.
Here are the goals that I submitted this year:
1. To use email to make more positive student recognition more consistently.
2. To become more proficient with the new computerized student records program to better monitor and assess the progress of my students.
These are two goals that I’ve noticed that I’m a little weak in. I’m pretty good at contacting parents, but most of the time, if not all of the time, it’s because the student is being a knucklehead in my class. What I’ve always wanted to do is make more positive contacts, but up until recently, it’s been something that I’ve always put off. Now that most parents have email, I can send off small messages to recognize those kids who are doing well. We all like to have our work appreciated. Our good students need a little pat on the back sometimes too. I love it when I get a note from my son’s teacher telling me that he’s did something good. It’s a reflection on me. That is why I’ve decided to focus on this year. I’m still working on it. I’m improving, but I can do better.
The other goal is to learn this new computerized program we have. I started teaching back before they had computers in the classroom. Now everything is computerized, so we are doing our attendance, posting grades, compiling test data, all on this new computer program. I want to become an expert on it. I’m almost there too. Teachers come to me when they have questions. Most of the time, I know the answer.
So, if you’re a new teacher, what are some goals that you would include in your pre-observation meeting?
Here are some goals that I would have put down when I started. (By the way, when I started, there was no accountability for teachers. I was given a classroom, a textbook, and left alone. Times are a lot different now.)
1. Collaborate more with experienced teachers to come up with different ways to deliver the content.
2. Better meet the needs of my students with learning disabilities, students who are English learners, etc.
3. Take an online course to improve my knowledge of my subject matter.
4. Make more parent contact.
5. Create a journal of my experiences in the class, documenting what worked and what didn’t. This could be in a form of an online blog.
6. Improve my use of technology in the classroom, incorporating PowerPoint, streaming video, Internet, email, etc.
What other professional goals would you add to this list?
What I’d like to do in the next few posts is dissect my evaluation, and explain what you can expect when you go through the process. In the beginning, it can be a little intimidating. Basically, you’re being graded. It can be kind of stressful when the principal walks in your room with a clipboard and sits in the back of the room. I’ll try and share what I’ve learned over the years, and hopefully give you some tips to make it not so scary.
Get your free copy of my ebook: The Less Stressful Evaluation – a brief explanation of the California State Standards for Teachers. Click on the book to get your copy.
Talk to you soon,