Monday, February 27, 2012

Need To Set a Higher Bar

I met with an assistant principal this morning for my mid-year review. (We're observed and evaluated every three years and this is my year.) Our Performance Assessment is broken into five categories: Planning & Assessment, Instructions, Learning Environment, Human Relations & Communication Skills, and Professionalism.We can be ranked as Does Not Meet, Meets, or Exceeds.

At this point in the year I have been marked Exceeds in two of the five categories, Human Relations & Communication Skills and in Professionalism. In thinking about this I'm not at all upset about not having Exceeds elsewhere. Instead, I'm actually concerned that we've set the bar in these two areas too low. It is too easy to Meet or Exceed in these areas.

Working with pre-service teachers for the last decade I have found that they almost always score higher on the professionalism and the communication categories than anywhere else. Is it really that the other parts of our job are really that difficult? Or do we not expect enough of teachers when it comes to professionalism?

1 comment:

Alex T. Valencic said...

I would be interested in seeing a wide cross-section of teacher evaluations before making a definitive statement, but my gut instinct is that the former supposition is more likely the accurate one.

Professionalism and human relations are something that we learn at an early age and then continue to develop. Even a pre-service teacher has likely had years of training in professionalism, if in nothing other than observing other adults.

The other areas take a lot more time to master, and I don't feel like pre-service training really gives that time. At least for me, my pre-service education was heavy on pedagogy, heavy on the theory of planning, instructing, and assessing, but, compared to the rest of my college career, I only had one semester that really focused on applying these (my student teaching). Three months of application compared to years. No wonder it is easy to score high on professionalism!

The solution, to me, is to extend field experiences considerably and also provide a year-long apprenticeship/internship before a candidate is eligible for a teaching certificate. I know some programs do this, but not enough.