Being on the other side

It’s the time of year where teacher appraisal is happening, this is the first year where I have been on both sides of the process (thanks to the tech goals our school has and my role as tech coach).

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Like most things, I’ve been totally unaware of how others approach the idea of appraisal. I have been through a number of appraisal methods, and to be honest, none have really worked for me. Regardless I have tried to make the most out of each method and I feel I have grown personally and professionally in all my jobs. 

Being on the other end and being responsible for appraising is much more difficult than I originally thought.  Everyone I work with approaches their appraisal different.  Some just want the box checked and do it superficially, some write out everything they do, some have meaningful reflections but about things I haven’t thought of, or thought would be on an appraisal sheet (I do find them incredibly interesting though), in short I guess, I’ve learned a lot more about being on the other side. 
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For almost anything, being able to empathize and think about where others are at help us to grow and develop.  I talked to a colleague last night about the importance of qualitative data when doing appraisals.  For me, qualitative data is just so much more important than quantitative.  By having teachers write what they’re thinking, without it being in a small little box, we can really think about how we want to develop, get away from the traditional appraisal system and create ourselves. 
Reading the qualitative reports from my colleagues helped me to understand them better, but also helped me to reconsider my goals and ambitions. I fully believe my reflection process has improved as a result of this process, so I’m really thankful. 

2 Replies to “Being on the other side”

  1. Hi Joe!

    As a teacher, I had my first appraisal this year. It was something that was implemented this year at our school. I loved it (many teachers hated it???), although I thought from the admin side of things they were 'checking' boxes to help with an accreditation. I think one of the most important aspects of an appraisal is just to give yourself time to reflect. Hopefully you can learn from these reflections and set appropriate goals.

    You have given me an idea to send out a basic multiple choice appraisal on google docs to our staff this year. If nothing else, it gets them to think about how they are using tech in the classroom to enhance learning.

    I did like the format we used this year…we had broad areas with more specific points covered in the topics. Both teachers and admin had to write some sentences reflecting on SOME of the more specific points. I personally would have liked to have some sort of rating (1-5) selection for each detailed point to be included as well as the written reflection.

    Also, we were not shown these goals at the beginning of the year, so we did not know what we were being appraised upon. Always need to show people what you are looking for before they do it (kind of like showing students the rubric when you hand out an assignment)

    BTW can I ask what you are going to do with your coetail blog and this blog when finished coetail? Will you use one or the other, or both?


  2. Hey Scott,

    Currently I really like our goal setting. We set a goal (under our four main strands of what it means to be an educator at our school) with an administrator(or me in this case). and set up an action plan to achieve the goal Half way through the year we do a check in, see where we are at and set action steps for the end of the year. Then at the end of the year, just this week, we go over the goals. Next year we are moving to a more rubric oriented goal setting (not based on the Danielson Framework, but what can you do?). As a qualitative social studies type person I love the writing aspect and thinking deeply, but I get the appeal of the rubric too.

    I think your idea for a quick reflection is great, we did our iPad pilot this year, which is why I was goal setting with some of the teachers. Watching how they grew not just in skills and the mindshift between what it means to be a “digital” educator was pretty amazing, but even watching their language adapt (involving SAMR and things) was pretty fantastic too.

    I am going to keep this blog going all the time, I like the layout better, and I write here first and then post to COETAIL. I know you have another blog too, what's your plan?

    Are you going to MUO?


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