Channeling the Power of Teacher Leaders: Working to create a common language around teacher evaluations
As districts continue to implement a new system for evaluating teachers, it is important that there be a common language about the expectations of teachers in the evaluation process, from what they should be doing inside and outside of the classroom. In an effort to facilitate this common language, CABOCES has welcomed a cohort of teacher leaders from several districts in the region, who are continuing to learn about the process of conducting an evaluation on a teacher. They have practiced the craft of observations and reviewed the nuances in the language of the evaluation platforms that have been selected by districts throughout the state. These teacher leaders are taking their knowledge back to their home schools, having conversations about the true process of teacher evaluations - from why we do it, to the time it takes.
In their initial meeting, the teachers broke apart their rubrics to evaluate what instruction should look like by that of a highly effective teacher. In reading through the language of the rubrics, it became clear that a highly effective instructional environment is largely student-centered, with the teacher serving as a support of sorts for students’ learning. Instruction isn’t just what can be visible in the moment; instruction is what happens everyday to help facilitate cooperative learning experiences and deep thinking about a concept or topic. After an exploration of instruction, the teachers have taken on the task of discussing what makes a classroom environment highly effective. In analyzing a teacher’s interaction with her students, exploring the set-up of the room as a whole, and discussing how to facilitate an environment of respect and rapport, the cohort was able to see beyond the content and into the classroom that sets the foundation for the learning. In both experiences, the participants reflected on what they realized were essential components in not only the evaluation process, but in everyday teaching as well.
As a result of these offerings, several of our teacher leaders have taken back their learning to the district, presenting at faculty meetings, serving as networks of support for teachers with questions about the process of evaluations, and conversing with administration to build a common language around the evaluation practices overall.
Though the curriculum may change and traditional instruction may shift in a new direction, teacher leaders can work to support their colleagues in the many changes we face in the world of education today. Whether it is in helping one another to grow and learn through the process of evaluation, or by simply helping in the interpretation of rubric terminology, teacher leaders can serve as a great network of support in times of change.
For more information about the teacher leader trainings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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