I don’t think so.
There’s a bill moving quickly through Olympia right now which would streamline TPEP, the teacher evaluation process in Washington. Currently, teachers undergo a comprehensive evaluation at least every four years, with a focused evaluation in the intervening years. Under HB 1867, teachers with National Board Certification would have a comprehensive evaluation every six years instead of four, as long as they receive an evaluation score of three or higher in their last comprehensive evaluation.
The purpose is obvious. The new evaluation process is time-consuming for administrators. Much more so than the previous process. Reducing comprehensive evaluations for NBCTs would let administrators concentrate their time on the rest of the faculty.
Comprehensive evaluations are also more time consuming for teachers. Therefore, this bill would effectively “reward” NBCTs by allowing them to undergo them less often.
I can certainly see the benefits, both to administrators and classroom teachers. My principal spends a lot of time all year doing evaluations. So does our assistant principal. I’ve gone through comprehensive evaluation once – two years ago – and it was time consuming. It was also stressful; opening up your entire professional practice to close observation can leave even the most competent and confident feeling vulnerable.
It’s like going to the dentist. You’re lying there with your mouth open, letting someone you barely know prod around, looking for problems and passing judgement on your flossing skills. Not a lot of fun.
But going to the dentist was never supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to improve oral health. Teacher evaluations aren’t supposed to be fun either; they’re supposed to improve teaching and learning.
So even though I’m an NBCT who doesn’t particularly enjoy being evaluated, I’m against HB 1867.
First of all, I like getting better at what I do. I like coming away from evaluations empowered to do better. And while going through National Board Certification certainly honed my self-analysis and self-reflective skills, having someone else observe and analyze my teaching is something else altogether. Maybe I’m just selfish, but I want all the evaluation I can get. I know I have areas of weakness, and I would like support addressing them. It would be nice to use my focused evaluations to address those areas, but in my context there’s a strong push to align focused goals with school. Having frequent comprehensive evaluations would allow me more opportunities to address my areas of weakness.
Another reason why I’m opposed to HB 1867 is systems-based. Assuming NBCTs are more accomplished than their colleagues (which is the premise of the bill) it stands to reason that administrators should look deeply into their practice at least as often as they look into everyone else’s. By doing so, administrators would be better able to suggest specific strategies to everyone they evaluate.
I’m not kidding myself. HB 1867 stands a strong chance of passing, possibly as early as next week. And although it will make my life easier and less stressful, I’m against it.
What about you?