I usually start my conversations with faculty discussing the objective of the process. My objective is not punishment. My objective is not rooting out the weak to bring fire and termination.
My objective is professional growth and development. As our mission statement reads, "Students at Brebeuf Jesuit are called to discover and cultivate the fullness of their God-given talents as a responsibility and as an act of workshop." Well guess what? My job as an evaluating administrator is to help teachers of Brebeuf Jesuit to discover and cultivate their God-given talents. I do consider this an act of worship.
Framed in the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, our evaluation program (called the Magis Program for Professional Growth) looks like this:
Definition of "Members of the Principal's Office": Principal, Assistant Principal, Director of Faculty Development.
- 1Year 1-2 Faculty – 6 visits per semester
- Year 3 Faculty and Faculty in Cycle – 3 visits per semester
- Faculty off-cycle – 1 visit per semester
The first step in relationship building is trust. How do I build trust? I'd say it's through listening (really listening), taking time to turn off the phone ringer/minimize computer screen, drop whatever I am doing to focus on the individual. I strive to build conversational around teacher identified areas of growth and strengths. The commitment to not tie monetary compensation to evaluation also builds trust ... as there is nothing like a heavy power imbalance (holding your family's financial success or failure in my subjective little hands) to at seriously hamper a trusting relationship.
The next step is. as the Prayer for Generosity reads, to be willing to give and not to count the costs. This type of evaluation system takes time, energy and resources. With walk-throughs, meetings, observations, writing reflections... a minimum 10 hours per teacher (times 16 for me this year that's 160 hours plus off cycle hours adding about 20 more). It may mean hours of Googling teaching methods, resources and best practices for field's outside my comfort zone (I work with two fabulous Physics teachers this year... having never taken Physics this is a stretch year for me). It means knowing all faculty well enough to pair up veteran teachers with newer teachers as mentors and role models. It means occasionally getting up and modeling an activity or strategy myself. It means being the bad guy sometimes - or brave enough to face uncomfortable conversations. I
Finally, relationship requires mutual respect. I work with amazing people. There talents and dedication astound me. I respect them as professional educators and individuals on a journey of growth. I have no idea why they hang with me... but I am thankful they do.
If you are interested in learning more about our evaluation system or seeing some of our materials - send an email or note in the comments below. As with our Ed Tech stuff, we share. Be warned - there is no iPad app or automated spreadsheet for this type of work. Only yourself and the desire to cultivate the fullness of individual talents.