I may regret my words later, but today, I will loudly say, or rather type, that I am jealous of my co-workers who can use TPEP as their evaluation tool, specifically the Danielson model adopted by my district. How might you ask can I be a public school teacher in Washington and not be on TPEP? The answer lies in the fact that I am not a “classroom” teacher but a Library Media Specialist, with a rotating queue of students, classrooms, and teachers. This is not a district decision, but a state decision.
When changing models, it makes sense that the state has focused on classroom teachers to build a working system. Take the conundrum of how exactly student growth goals would work in an open-space library media center without a yearlong group of students. Yet, I still wish that I could be on the TPEP model in order to focus my professional development, grow as a teacher, and have in-depth conversations about my practice with a building leader.
Ironically, I am one of three teachers in my building with 12+ hours of training from a Danielson trainer about how to use the model, keep track of data, and work through the criteria and domains. I was selected for and completed the training prior to learning that I could not actually be on the Danielson model. So, I have even more insight into how this model can foster growth and conversations.
While we refine our use of TPEP and build in models for the non-classroom teacher (technically, Danielson has a model for LMS), I don’t need to sit by idly. Just because I’m not required to be a TPEP-er doesn’t mean I can’t act like a TPEP-er.
Engaging my Reflective Self: A Baby Step to TPEPping My Work
Building an Online Portfolio. Recently, I attended the NCCE conference in Portland where I attended workshops led by Nikki Robertson. She has inspired me to create my own online portfolio space. One key component for this space, as well as my library space, will be a weekly reflection on my work. Publically, this adds to the public voice of “librarians are not just book dusters, book readers, and book “checker-outers”. Personally, this will put me in touch with my student teaching and Masters of Arts in Teaching roots. Remember when you had to write reflection after reflection after reflection when learning to be a teacher? Nikki brought up a great point: why do we stop this practice once we have found a job? So, my public accountability is now out there. Time to set-up an online space and show what I do.
Building a Student Work Virtual Wall. To say that I took a lot away from Nikki’s workshops would be an understatement. She mentioned that her work with an elementary classroom that has gone 1:1 resulted in the need for a Virtual Wall of Student Work. Often, when I think about my virtual library presence, it centers on providing resources, creative outlets, and launching points for students working online. But, shouldn’t there also be a space for students displaying their work? This is not only a boost for parent and community interaction with learning, but it’s a ready built world to answer the question “what do you do with students” and “how do you know that you have helped students”.
I know that the day is coming where TPEP has been refined for the classroom teacher and introduced to other types of teachers and certificated staff in schools. I could wait for that day, lamenting that I am not involved in the conversation my colleagues are currently being afforded.
Or, I could start by integrating these 2 reflection pieces into my job. Then, choose the next step. And the next step…