You Make the Rules

Kline, Patrick. img_0204.jpg. August 26, 2014. Pics4Learning. 5 Apr 2015

Kline, Patrick. img_0204.jpg. August 26, 2014. Pics4Learning. 5 Apr 2015 <>

There are lots of fancy-schmancy documents that guide what educators do each day and each year.  It starts with federal guidelines for using federal monies, heads down to state mandates, and gets to the nitty gritty when it comes to board policy, local association agreements and contracts, and evaluations.

This year, it seems, more than ever, so many Ohio educators have spent their calories discussing arguing many of these documents.  I won’t open that political battle in this post, so I’ll steer clear of specifics.

But what if you had the chance to make the rules?

What if you could write your own contract with your board?  What would you include?  What would you commit to them?  What would you request of your boss?

What if you could write your own evaluation template?  What do you want your evaluator to look for?

Rocking Your Evaluation in One Easy Step

IMG_4449As we wrap up our second full year of implementation of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, or OTES, I’m still struggling to determine the overall effectiveness of the typing-intensive, conversation-weak approach to teacher evaluation.  One challenge I’ve faced has simply been the organization of pre-conferences, observations, and post-conferences.  Email and shared calendars have helped this, but putting together an observation schedule for each of the 28 OTES’d teachers can be challenging.

Unfortunately, still overshadowing many of these observations for some teachers is this negative cloud of doom! When they received my memo indicating I’d like to begin scheduling their observation, they seem to interpret it as, “Your teaching career has been sentenced to death unless you completely fret about this observation for days and lose tons of sleep and focus putting together The Perfect Lesson.”  Regardless of how much I try to convince this handful of teachers that I’m still completely here to support them and am looking forward to seeing the great things going on in their rooms, all I hear about from them is how stressed they are about their observation and how much they can’t wait until it’s over.

Then there’s the other type.

Earlier this year, in an email exchange of potential observation dates and times that followed my observation memo, one teacher replied with two simple sentences that completely set the tone for her observation (and reflected her feelings toward the evaluation):

“It’s on my calendar! Prepare to be amazed!”

Boom!  With those two sentences, the tone, the bar, and the challenge had been set.  She was ready to rock her evaluation!

How do you face your evaluation?  What does your attitude say about you?