What can I possibly say.....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Joyful!, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. Joyful!

    Joyful! Cohort

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    13

    Aug 24, 2017

    This year the new wave of observations will require every teacher to state the area they want to improve, the way they intend to improve it, and the follow up date for the second observation where the improvement can be seen.

    I get the mindset. Really. I just have so many problems with this. It becomes part of your employment record. This applies to admin as well.

    So, my first thought for an answer is sarcastic, and not going to be able to be used. (I want to improve answering meaningless, inane questions. I think I'll be done in June.) So....what can I possibly say? Is there anyone else doing this? How did you handle it? Please help, the clock is ticking. (Our entire school staff will be observed, top to bottom, many times this year. It will always look like this.) Help!
     
  2.  
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,213
    Likes Received:
    1,332

    Aug 24, 2017

    Choose something on which you know you can improve and is observable. I'm thinking things along the lines of:
    Higher order questioning
    Cooperative learning
    Hands on learning
    Writing across the curriculum.
     
  4. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    87

    Aug 24, 2017

    Joyful, in Canada we have Standards of Practice in most provinces so when we write our learning plans each year we are to refer to them. Does your state have anything like that? I would consider things like czacza has mentioned that focus on pedagogy. I would try to pick things that aren't overly specific. So, for example, if you pick one really specific teaching method and you have it mastered by January you will have an issue showing growth in the second half of the year. I try to pick something that is real. Something that has a lot of growth potential but that doesn't make me look like I'm really lacking. So for example, one thing my province is really focused on right now is parent engagement. I know I am pretty engaged with parents and I know my evaluator knows this too so I can start by stating that I am doing x, y and z well but I would like to do a, b and c with more consistency and a, b and c are things the province wants us to do that it is widely accepted basically no one is doing now so suggesting I want to do them makes me look like I'm supportive of growing myself (rather than like I'm behind the 8 ball).
     
    MrsC likes this.
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,274
    Likes Received:
    1,146

    Aug 24, 2017

    Always_Learning-- glad you beat me to the punch with your suggestions!

    We complete a Learning Plan every year. I think about: pedagogy (what new approaches might you be trying?), student engagement, communication with parents, professional development, and collaboration with colleagues.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,134
    Likes Received:
    355

    Aug 24, 2017

    I have to do this every year. Just pick an area where you had already planned to improve. You can pick the same area over and over.
     
    bella84 and otterpop like this.
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    976

    Aug 24, 2017

    Yep! Think about changes you were already planning on making or something you already do.

    "Make 2 positive parent contacts per class per week" (maybe you do this already, or want to, and just need to track it)
    "Implement technology into lessons at least 2x per week" (maybe you just got new Chromebooks or tablets)
    "Attend one PD event per quarter in the area of __ instruction" (maybe it's required for your teaching license and you'll be doing it anyway)

    These types of things are timewasters. I wish administrators would realize that as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    bella84, greendream and Joyful! like this.
  8. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    87

    Aug 24, 2017

    Otterpop,

    Do you really think they are timewasters? I find that taking the time to really think about how I want to be better this year, writing it down and sharing it does actually help me become better year over year and I don't think this would happen in the same way if I didn't take the time to reflect, write it down and share it.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    976

    Aug 24, 2017

    I think it depends on who your admin is. Sometimes it's a timewaster, but if you're honestly reflecting, then that's a good thing. I've never seen it implemented in a way that didn't make staff feel bitter. I imagine with a good admin, it could be a positive thing.

    I'm always looking for ways to improve, and I guess having someone tell me specifically how I need to track it is offputting. (This reminds me of the whole "required reading log versus reading just for the joy of it" conversation in another thread.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    bella84 and nstructor like this.
  10. Joyful!

    Joyful! Cohort

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    13

    Aug 24, 2017

    First, thanks everyone! That gives me some food for thought.
    I can definitely implement your ideas.
    I knew you all would know the answer. :)
     
  11. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,468
    Likes Received:
    86

    Aug 25, 2017

    We have to write things like this, submit them, and then NEVER hear another word about it. That is a waste of time.
     
    otterpop and nstructor like this.
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,274
    Likes Received:
    1,146

    Aug 25, 2017

    We have a quick meeting with admin after submitting our learning plan. The meeting is not to discuss the appropriateness of the goals (they are personal, so critique wouldn't be appropriate), but more for admin to ask how they can help us in meeting our goals. For example, two years ago, one of my goals was to focus my PD in two areas: mathematics and mental health. My P made sure that I was made aware of board-sponsored training workshops, shared pertinent articles with me, and brought me on board to spear-head our Well-being Committee.
     
    bella84 and MissScrimmage like this.
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,861
    Likes Received:
    352

    Aug 25, 2017

    When I was a classroom teacher, this was the model we used. Before coming to observe, my principal asked me which area I wanted to improve in. I told her I wanted to make my math lessons more engaging and hands on. I knew I was using too many worksheets, but was not confident in running lessons without them. So, she observed over a series of 4-5 lessons, I think. (It's all a bit blurry because two close family members passed away during my observation time). It was nice to have a specific goal to discuss and she could offer purposeful advice on something I was trying to implement. She also made sure I knew about upcoming math PD that was relevant to my goal.
     
  14. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    87

    Aug 25, 2017

    See Missy I still think they are of value, even if I never hear from admin. Some years I've worked with administrators, who like Mrs C's keep us in mind for specific opportunities based on our interests. Other years I don't hear anything about them. In both cases, I find it I take is seriously it is a good exercise for me and I improve by choosing to hold myself accountable to my own goals for the year.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,666
    Likes Received:
    786

    Aug 25, 2017

    I set goals for myself in my head... I don't need to worry about wording of a goal and how I'm going to measure it in order to hold myself accountable.
     
    czacza likes this.
  16. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    87

    Aug 25, 2017

    Hi Bella,

    Absolutely, I think if setting goals in your head works for you great.

    I think where I work, the province has accepted the literature that suggests that people who write down their goals tend to stay more committed to them and are more likely to achieve them. I think the province is thinking from the perspective of what will work for the entire system, so while there are some teachers who can set goals and monitor progress in their heads, the majority do better if they are required to write them down because the process encourages them to take more time to think them through, set clearer goals and set a clear structure for tracking progress on the goals.

    This may not be true for everyone and you may be an exceptionally strong goal setter but I basically agree with the perspective that asking people to publicly commit to goals has enough positive impact on student achievement to be worthy of the process. For me personally, I think collecting data is critical to measure my progress and know that I've had the intended impact. But again, just my view.

    I would also add that setting these goals is part of a broader approach in Canada that sees teacher appraisals as a collaborative process where we work together to be better both individually and as a collective.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  17. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    976

    Aug 25, 2017

    Us too.
     
  18. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,468
    Likes Received:
    86

    Aug 26, 2017

    I think they can still be valuable, but for admin, the emphasis is on wording, data, and measurability, and then they offer no assistance and no follow up; I can always think of a lot I want to improve or add to my skills, but don't make me jump through hoops that don't help me or my students, when the hoops are all for show and just to check off that they saw them.
    I find PD and read books and share with others; I would like to direct my energies there.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  19. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    87

    Aug 26, 2017

    Missy, I do understand what your saying. I guess I think both can be true. I think that teachers can see it as hoop jumping and check marks and it can be useful. I agree that PD and books can be useful but I still believe that there has to be some accountability/ reporting for our system as a whole to continue to improve and I guess a key part for me is that the sharing with your team/ admin is important because how do we improve as a collective if we are all just doing our own thing?

    I also think it sounds like (although I have no first hand experience) that in many parts of the US the balance is no longer there and there is too much accountability and not enough support. I believe you absolutely need both.

    At the same time, I know there are teachers who work in my system who would say that there is too much accountability/ hoop jumping and not enough support and I think in most Canadian provinces that just isn't true. It's that we are historically used to having no data/ accountability, etc so sometimes colleagues resent any requirements to demonstrate growth, show data that supports the growth, etc. I think what it mostly comes down to in my context is we all (myself included) have a hard time with change.

    I think one of the reasons I am so receptive to this format is because we get a lot of autonomy in Canada as teachers. For example, we never are given a "program" to follow, let alone told to teach in lock step with a colleague. We are evaluated but in most provinces, it is every few years (not weeks). And I've seen teaching get so much better in the last 10 years because we've been required to work in teams and collect data (but again - lots of autonomy in how we do that - yes there are specific requirements in reporting and wording, etc - but it is balanced with trust in the profession and a level of autonomy).
     
  20. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,666
    Likes Received:
    786

    Aug 26, 2017

    I don't have a problem with sharing my goals with my admin and teammates on a casual basis. I agree that sharing what you are working on can be helpful. However, having to put in a lot of time and effort to ensure I've worded a goal just the way admin wants it is a waste. I could be using that time and effort actually working towards my goal.

    Also, I'm one of those rare people that does not have a problem with change. I thrive on change... which is precisely why I am always setting my own goals for myself and working towards them - no paperwork needed.
     
  21. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    87

    Aug 26, 2017

    Bella, and I think that you're not "typical" (and therefore not why this type of policy is needed) is basically what I'm trying to say. While writing goals down is not necessary for you, people in charge of the system have to look at what is going to work broadly and I basically accept/ buy into the research on goal setting that says most people need to write things down. I buy the idea of "using the group to move the group" and my experience is that when a group of teachers are working towards change it's much more powerful than when I've tried to change things on my own in my classroom so I appreciate that we have to write goals down because it means I know everyone else I'm teaching with is doing it too and it becomes a starting point for our shared work.

    Within my province there is an expectation that educators as professional can use the language that is laid out by the Ministry because we all do need to be talking the same language, but I would say there is a point that can go "too far" as well and that most administrators I've worked with haven't gotten too hung up on the wording I'm using, so I appreciate that it would be frustrating to work for someone who was overly specific on that front.

    I suspect we may just have different perspective on this.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Leaborb192,
  2. linguistics,
  3. Caesar753,
  4. GemStone,
  5. blazer,
  6. Guitart,
  7. gr3teacher,
  8. AlwaysAttend
Total: 450 (members: 9, guests: 313, robots: 128)
test