Teacher evaluation and professional development won’t work without teacher buy-in, writes Wookie Kim, who blogs at ABCDE, in his analysis of Education Sector’s Finding the Link conference. As a high school English teacher in Washington, D.C., Kim has seen the new IMPACT teacher evaluation system make a shaky start.
(1) On the teacher evaluation side, how do you get teachers to buy in to the idea of performance evaluation, especially if and when the system is so unfamiliar, filled with inherent risks, and tied to very high stakes?
. . . At my school, when the master educators enter the building, teachers go around alerting the entire building. Some teachers proceed as usual; others, however, pull out there one-off, let’s-follow-everything-on-the-IMPACT-rubric lesson plan. What I have seen is an “us versus them” (read: “teachers versus IMPACT”) mentality that defeats entirely the purpose of IMPACT. What should we do to increase buy-in here?
(2) On the professional development side, how do you get teachers who are already so busy—gah!—to carve out time for professional development, and to see PD as something more — much more! — than a mandatory requirement to earn a few professional learning units?
IMPACT’s master educators gave Kim “actionable next steps” to improve his teaching; they “followed up with me over email and provided invaluable resources in areas where I needed help.”
But many administrators aren’t prepared to evaluate teachers and many teachers feel there’s been little ongoing support.
I feel like I was given a torn set of instructions before being paradropped behind enemy lines where – in radio silence and without any updated directives – I’m tasked with assaulting the fortress of Effective Teaching.
Rated “effective” by IMPACT, Kim has been “excessed” and will have to find a new job at another school.