It’s that wonderful time of year when teachers are beginning to wrap-up their evaluations. Administrators are extra on the ball as their own due dates are coming nearer. At least in my district that is surely the case. As I work with my new teachers during this last evaluation hurdle, I see that they are very nervous. Some of them are even more nervous for this last round of observations and evaluation conversations than I think they were the first time around. At the same time they are very excited. It’s great to feel the accomplishment and getting through it all. Next year, even though they are on comprehensive again they will not have to ask as many questions, and they will know so much more about the process. I am often told that they found it much less frightening and cumbersome than they had heard it would be.
As they prepare for these final steps and conversations with their evaluators, I am telling them to be prepared for these five things:
- Have an idea of where you think your LOP is currently.
When thinking about your Level Of Performance (LOP)look through your rubrics and if your district doesn’t require you to, do a little self-assessment. Where do you think you fall and why? Use the rubric language to describe your level of performance according to the framework your district has adopted.
- Be prepared to brag a bit.
This is your time to show off. If there is something you are super proud of this year that you think your evaluator might not know why not tell them about it? One of the great things about TPEP is that it takes us away from the evaluator just ticking boxes and allows us to really talk about our performance. Bring up something you think you have done really well, or show off that awesome project that really increased student learning. I am confident that your evaluator will be proud of you too.
- Be prepared to be humble and take compliments.
During these reflective conversations you should be talking about your performance with your evaluator for each of the Washington State Eight Teacher Evaluation Criteria.While doing that you may realize that you have been harder on yourself than your evaluator. Be prepared to see what they see. My hope is that everyone walks out of their meetings with both the set of new goals for the next year and a sense of accomplishment and pride. I am sure that your evaluator will let you know what you have done that is great and what they see as your strengths. Be humble and say thank you for the compliment because all teachers deserve it hear it.
In this conversation you may also wish that your evaluator saw or scored something differently than you did. This happened to me last year. I had tried really hard to get a distinguished in my focus goal area. When I got my evaluation back I was very disappointed to see that I was just satisfactory. Not that I didn’t earn satisfactory in many other criteria and was proud of that, but I worked especially hard on this one. What I did was first not freak out. (If you know me, you know that was hard. ) Then I grabbed my rubrics and I found evidence of how my performance was distinguished. When I sat down to have a meeting with my evaluator I just showed her the language and described how my evidence showed that I had met that level. She agreed and I was given the level of performance for that element that I felt I deserved. Of course there is no guarantee that your evaluator will change your scores, however it can’t hurt and it will help them to see how purposeful you have been in your practice.
- Remember to have a growth mindset.
I think that most importantly the best part of TPEP is the opportunity to reflect and be a team with your evaluator. Go into your final meeting ready to be reflective and set next steps and it will benefit your practice. I know that a growth mindset is mandatory for our profession and this system lends itself well to growing that mindset.
My hope is that all of my mentees will walk out of their final evaluation meetings feeling accomplished, relieved, and ready to take on the rest of the year strong. I hope this advice might help you do the same.