Beginning Teachers Preparing for Evaluation
A first year teacher calls the Provincial Office uncertain of the procedures for the Teacher Performance Appraisal. They are seeking assistance in preparing for an upcoming evaluation.
Teachers are advised to review the entire appraisal process, and to get a copy of all the necessary resource documents and forms. They must receive a copy of the Supporting Teacher Excellence manual and familiarize themselves with all the domains, competencies, and “look-fors”. They should check with their local OECTA representatives in order to clarify local interpretations, protocols, timelines, and practices embodied in the collective agreement. They should know that vice-principals, principals, and supervisory officers could conduct the appraisal.
Under present legislation, teachers will be evaluated once in a three-year cycle, and new teachers once in each of the first two years of their employment. Teachers must be notified in writing within the first 20 school days in an evaluation year. Each evaluation consists of two sessions which must include a pre-observation meeting, a classroom observation, a post-observation meeting, a review of parental and student input, and a summative report. Teachers must have prior notification of the pre-observation meeting, as well as the required form and observation guide in advance.
The principal and the teacher must prepare for the classroom observation part of the appraisal and review the teacher’s current annual learning plan. Each appraisal must include one observation in an ordinary instructional setting. Teachers should review the specific “look-fors” with the principal in order to determine which indicators will be emphasized during the observation. There must be a post-observation meeting, which should include discussion of other information relevant to the principal’s evaluation. A summative report, including the teacher’s overall rating, must be completed and signed within 20 days of the classroom observation, and within 15 days if the rating is unsatisfactory.
Teachers under performance appraisal should document meetings and keep records of everything: annual learning plans, lesson plans, assessment of student achievement, and performance appraisal forms. Take charge of the agenda: ensure observation is guided observation, suggest when the principal should visit, and explain in advance what the principal will have the opportunity to observe and how the observations link to the competencies. Make sure procedures and timelines are followed.
Make sure everything is in writing and that you receive copies. Make sure written records match what was said and what the evaluator had the opportunity to observe. Teachers should respond to all negative comments and issues in dispute in writing. Keep your local OECTA Unit President informed of any irregularities, and in particular, if you receive an unsatisfactory evaluation.