Did your state get a waiver?
If you teach in one of the 34 states with a No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver, then you have heard all about the teacher evaluation process. And if you are like me you keep hearing about it, but you are not sure how to really navigate it yourself. I have talked to teachers all over the state in which I work (Virginia) and there does seem to be a lot of confusion as to how the evaluation program will work. And as confused as I am/was, it turns out my school has done a better job than many I’ve talked to in helping me, a teacher, navigate the system.
How can I help you?
In the first year of the teacher evaluation process I was on full review – joy! So I learned all about the 7 areas of review that will be evaluated. But before I talk about those, start by doing this: buy a huge three-ring binder. My school was awesome and provided it for me!
Apparently, some schools or school districts are asking their teachers to do this electronically but it seems like that would require a lot of time at the scanner? Like it or not, we still work in a paper world, so most of you would be best served to buy that four inch, 3-ring binder and get to work collecting evidence.
Each of the seven standards is measured on four levels – Exemplary, Proficient, Developing/Needs Improvement, and Unacceptable.
Over the next several weeks I will break down the 7 standards measured for teacher evaluation. Make sure you do not miss a post by signing up for a free subscription!
This week I will start with the first standard: Professional Knowledge. This will be ten percent of your final evaluation. We all know you are a pedagogical savant, but now you have to prove it. How can you demonstrate your awesomeness?
Standard One: Professional Knowledge
First of all, what are your evaluators looking for? (Most of this information is verbatim from handouts that I received or the evaluation itself):
- Effectively addresses appropriate curriculum standards.
- Demonstrates an accurate knowledge of the subject matter.
- Integrates key content elements and facilitates students’ use of higher level thinking skills in instruction.
- Demonstrates ability to link present content with past and future learning experiences, other subject areas, and real world experiences and applications.
- Demonstrates skills relevant to the subject areas taught.
- Bases instruction on goals that reflect high expectations.
- Demonstrates an understanding of the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of the age group.
- Communicates clearly and checks for understanding.
Essentially these are all things that show you know what you’re doing. If you remember studying folks like Jere Brophy in college, it is all that stuff that has been proven over and over again to work.
So how do you at least get Proficient?
I am a perfectionist when it comes to my job. I think I am awesome and it is hard for me to accept just “proficient,” but this is where we all realistically should be aiming. Administrators are not going to give all their teachers an exemplary rating. So let us be proficient:
The teacher demonstrates an understanding of the curriculum, subject content, and the developmental needs of students by providing relevant learning experiences.
But I know I know you are better than the rest of us. For you Exemplary folks…
In addition to meeting the standard, the teacher consistently demonstrates extensive knowledge of the subject matter and continually enriches the curriculum.
In our minds we all probably feel that we accomplish this standard, but how do we prove it to our evaluators? Evidence!
Here are some examples of evidence that you might want to include in this section of your binder:
- Transcripts of course work – for me this was easy since I have been completing my master’s over the last few years. My transcripts have provided quite a lot of evidence that I have professional knowledge.
- Professional Development certificates – all those in-services you have attended are going to pay off. I hope you kept the evidence because now you have to show it.
- Annotated list of instructional activities – just make sure you demonstrate that professional knowledge in your summaries.
- Lesson plans or intervention plans – I am not sure if lesson plans fit best here but hey it could certainly show you know what you are doing.
- Journals or notes that represent reflective thinking and professional growth – for those of you who are not on full review for another year or two, now may be the time to start a journal.
- Samples of innovative approaches developed by the teacher.
Good luck showing you have exemplary professional knowledge. It’s ten percent of your total.
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