Too often, faculty evaluation means a School Head or a Division Head dropping in to observe a teacher at work in the classroom. It’s nothing more than a snapshot in time, kind of like a child taking a high-pressure standardized test. Does it really tell you what that child has learned? Does making a stop in a classroom for 20 minutes really enough? Basing a teacher’s “grade” solely on a classroom visit is truly unproductive and does nothing to enhance that teacher’s performance.
A healthy faculty culture, according to ISM research, is one of the contributing factors to student satisfaction and achievement. A meaningful faculty growth and development program is one of the contributing factors to a healthy culture. When you implement an evaluation model that includes ongoing coaching and mentoring, you will foster outstanding teacher performance.
One part of that model is using conversation as part of an overall evaluation program. As Head of a one-division school, you are the primary coach/mentor/evaluator for your teachers. If you are heading a multidivision school, this responsibility usually falls to the Division Head. On a semi-regular basis, you should engage in one-on-one chats with your teachers. During that time, you can ask simple questions, you can get their feedback on issues, and you can address items that you have casually observed. In that time, it is essential that you listen to what that teacher has to say. During these talks, it’s also the time to provide positive feedback, constructive critique, and set some short-term, attainable goals.
Conversations like these strengthen the relationship between a faculty member and administrator, while at the same time providing coaching/mentoring. You can address issues in real time, and see progression. When it is time for the formal evaluation, there will be no surprises—at least there should not be. Predictability and support is a keystone of a healthy faculty culture, as well as student satisfaction. A faculty evaluation model based on growth and development achieves both.
For more guidance on this, the ISM model is published in the new book Comprehensive Faculty Development (CFD) and available in the ISM Bookstore. ISM’s CFD-focused workshop will be offered again this summer, and you can keep an eye on the ISM Web site next month for date and location announcements. Another tool ISM offers is Teaching Excellence II: A Research-Based Workbook for Teachers, as well as hands-on training in the Teaching Excellence II workshop this coming February.
Additional ISM resources of interest
ISM Monthly Update for Human Resources Vol. 10 No. 5 Constructive Conversations, Coaching, and Mentoring
ISM Monthly Update for School Heads Vol. 9 No. 1 Small Talk and Tough Conversation—It's All Human (Resources)
ISM Monthly Update for Human Resources Vol. 10 No. 8 Re-Designing Your Teacher Evaluation Process
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