TPEP Core Principles
Professional learning is a key component of an effective evaluation system.
When I was talking about my different ideas and topics for blog posts with my husband, he jumped on the idea of evaluations. He is a supervisor at a call center and experiences observations, evaluations, and coachings. Coachings are random evaluations where the supervisors listen to calls and then coach the employees on those calls. It is done with a growth mindset and the evaluators give feedback about what went well and what needs work. Now, many times the window for coachings is set and the employee’s behavior changes because of that. The employee has an awareness of being observed. They are trying to appear at their best, but instead of showing skills of just doing the job, they end up putting on a display. This makes it hard to do coachings because it is not an authentic representation of their work. Not only that, but the supervisors are also trying to determine the mental state of the employee at that time. It is not only a check-in on their overall work performance, but also a chance to check on how they are at that moment in time.
The principal is a supervisor – a supervisor’s role is not only to make sure that the job is getting done, but that you are in a good place personally so that you can do that job to the best of your ability. In the era of PLCs and teachers working as a learning community, there is much more involved in the teaching process than “do you know what you’re doing and can you teach.” My school has a had a lot of change this year and building that community and that trust back up is pretty difficult. If we weren’t willing to communicate with the new administration, they probably wouldn’t be aware of the problem other than possible higher levels of stress, people withdrawing from the collaborative process, and a general reflection of that mood with our students.
The TPEP process is supposed to be to help you grow as an educator. It should be a “coaching” process where you are learning about and reflecting on what went well and what needs work. To do that, we need to be willing to give an authentic representation of our classrooms and try not to “put on a show.” Just do your usual.
As a new educator I would get stressed out about observations. Having someone in your class, writing down _everything_ that happens, can be an intense and sometimes uncomfortable experience. Hopefully we all have chances to build rapport with our evaluators, but that isn’t always the case. Embrace the awkward. It is in those uncomfortable moments that we can grow the most. Now, after over a decade of teaching I don’t get _as_ stressed out during evaluations, but some of my teammates in the past have still been that stressed after many decades. The point is, do you.
Try not to deviate from your normal teaching routines and patterns. However, if you want to try something new and that observation is a good opportunity to get feedback on that new type of instruction, go for it. If you have that kind of relationship with your evaluator and you feel comfortable with that, then do it. However, make sure you make it clear in your pre or post conferencing that it was not a “normal” teaching day.
The emphasis of the TPEP system and it’s four framework authors is that of a “shared experience between evaluator and evaluatee” which is to “support professional learning as the underpinning” of the evaluation system. Unfortunately I think we sometimes get lost in the concept of getting “good grades” and having spectacular observations, when the focus really needs to be on the need to “learn, implement, and sustain growth- oriented evaluation.” No longer are we separate entities that get to go in our rooms and do our own thing. We are more and more part of a larger organism that is working together to improve education for our students. From <http://www.k12.wa.us/TPEP/RaterAgreement.aspx>
So, to summarize, do you. Be an authentic teacher during observations and have real, growth-minded conversations with your evaluator. Hopefully, they are a supportive, observant, and reflective partner in your professional learning.
@ejohnstonteach & Husband
In my non-teacher consumed hours I love to spend time with my husband and son, play board games, sew/craft/quilt, and read (I DO teach ELA).I aspire to be more into fitness and outdoors more often, though I find a comfy chair and a good book/movie mightily appealing.