Being an educator is one of the most rewarding professions. From the bus driver to the superintendent, those working in the education field have the opportunity to enhance the life of a child every single day. With this privilege comes great responsibility. Educators have enormous influence over our youth, and therefore need to be sure they are serving as positive role models in this capacity.
While we all should strive to maintain a “kids first” philosophy, the daily management and tasks of school operations, especially for building administrators, is often overwhelming. How can we build and nurture positive relationships with our staff, students, parents, and stakeholders, and still check off all the items on our to-do lists?
Knowing that employee feedback is key to individual professional growth and improved school culture, teacher evaluations are often at the top of these lists. In addition, best practice dictates taking time to identify areas of needed growth, not just checking off boxes when it comes to teacher evaluation. The best schools also analyze inter-rater reliability among various evaluators.
Making Feedback a Priority
With all of this, it is no wonder that administrators often struggle to finish teacher evaluations in a timely manner. Making employee evaluation and feedback a priority is definitely easier said than done. Below are a few points that can help administrators stay on top of the evaluation process:
1. Choose the right evaluation tool. Collecting and managing evaluation data is a huge task. The right employee evaluation tool is key to the process of recording, storing, and analyzing data. And yes, EAI can help stay on top of this! Check out our new teacher evaluation tool here!
2. Train staff. Once you have chosen an evaluation tool, be sure that all evaluators have had adequate training to feel comfortable with the system. It is our nature to avoid that which is difficult or that we do not fully understand. Ease of use and comfort with the chosen evaluation system is key.
3. Schedule time. Yes, some of these are supposed to be unannounced, but block it on your personal schedule anyway.
4. Share the value and importance. Create a school wide culture of the importance of teacher observation and feedback. Encourage office staff to hold your scheduled evaluation time in reverence and ask unannounced visitors to schedule an appointment for another time. Likewise, ask teachers to have a plan B for minor discipline issues when you are evaluating.
5. Value the timeframe yourself. It is tempting, especially when returning from an absence or preparing for an upcoming meeting or event, to skip your intended walkthrough or evaluation time. Barring an absolute emergency, try to stick to the schedule you have created for yourself.
6. Additional evaluators. While these management tactics can be useful, nothing replaces help in completion of a task. In addition, external evaluators increase inter-rater reliability and thus decrease bias in the evaluation process. Additional evaluators may be department chairs or lead teachers within the district.
We must focus on providing meaningful feedback to our employees so they can continue to develop and improve at their craft.
As we move beyond compliance in the teacher evaluation process, we must ensure that we are not only checking off boxes or teacher names on our list of evaluations due. Instead, we must focus on providing meaningful feedback to our employees so they can continue to develop and improve at their craft. Valuing the process is the first step toward professional growth.
About Education Advanced, Inc.
Education Advanced is a provider of operations management and workflow solutions for K-12 school districts that enable educators to be more efficient, allowing them to dedicate more of their time and resources to exceeding student needs. EAI’s product offering includes Cardonex, TestHound, Embarc, Pathways, and Evaluation. These award-winning and patented technology solutions advance the efficacy of master scheduling, staff planning, curriculum management, assessment coordination, educator growth, and graduation tracking for K-12 school districts across the country. To learn more, visit https://educationadvanced.com/.