What’s it like to be on the other side of the Teacher Principal Evaluation Project process? As teachers, our focus is on knowing what our frameworks require, doing the work, and collecting the evidence. It’s easy to forget that evaluating teachers using TPEP is new work for our administrators as well. I interviewed two experienced administrators and one who is in her first year to find out their take on evaluating teachers using TPEP.
The experienced administrators were cautiously positive. Like many teachers, they know what it is like to have to learn a new evaluation system but they also have to figure out how to teach it to their staff using best teaching practices, do all the pieces of the new evaluation process with a long list of teachers, plus they are accountable to their supervisors for the results. It’s a big transition and it’s hard work. Here are their Stars and Wishes about TPEP.
- Unions have stepped in to provide helpful training to administrators.
- To the extent that it provides helpful feedback TPEP is good.
- Teachers are much clearer on what is being looked for during observations.
- Already capable teachers seem to like it and do well.
- It describes what we want teachers to know, do, and demonstrate.
- That administrators had more training to use TPEP from the district level.
- New administrators especially need training.
- It’s not just one more initiative we start and don’t finish.
- Supporting documentation required can be pretty overwhelming.
- The amount of change in evaluation systems can leave teachers feeling cynical.
The new administrator was hopeful. She had been evaluated using TPEP the previous year as a classroom teacher, and this year is evaluating classroom teachers using TPEP which she described as quite a switch in perspective. There was a lot to figure out that first year she was evaluated using TPEP, but teachers in her building had a chance to look at the rubrics along with examples of evidence and they practiced deciding which level of accomplishment that evidence supported. Content area Professional Learning Communities met to create common units and rubrics, which provided helpful formative assessment data. Her experiences as a classroom teacher using TPEP are fresh in her mind. Here are her Stars and Wishes.
- The rubrics help her to be really clear with teachers as she communicates where they fall on the rubric.
- Teachers can see how they have gotten better and it is is clear how they have improved.
- She’s learned to use the specific language about claim and evidence in each section she evaluates.
- When she uses the language of the rubric it helps her to give clear feedback.
- Learning to code the observation data into the correct areas for the online form takes time!
- Some parts of the observation could be coded into several areas and show up all over the lesson plan, the lesson that was observed, and on communication to parents, such as a purpose statement, for example. That can make it hard to remember to double or triple code when needed.
- Taking notes as an observer takes a lot of practice; there’s a huge amount going on every time you observe a lesson.
Is the TPEP meeting its purpose? Is it a tool that helps teachers get better at what they do? If the feedback is timely and the teacher is willing to be reflective, administrators said yes.
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