Your principal will be formally evaluating your teaching practice. What does this mean? What do you need to do?
Teacher evaluation is a formal process of gathering information or evidence about a teacher’s competence in relation to the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS). While evaluation processes vary based on the context of the teacher’s teaching assignment, one way for an evaluation to take place is through several planned and unplanned classroom observations. Evaluation processes differ across the province based on each school division’s administrative procedures, but all school divisions must follow the provincial Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy framework.
The policy articulates that teacher evaluations may be conducted
(a) upon the written request of the teacher;
(b) for purposes of gathering information related to a specific employment decision;
(c) for purposes of assessing the growth of the teacher in specific areas of practice;
(d) when, on the basis of information received through supervision, the principal has reason to believe that the teaching of the teacher may not meet the teaching quality standard.
Teachers Without a Continuing Contract
Teachers without a continuing contract are often evaluated in accordance with reason (b) above. School divisions must evaluate teachers with probationary contracts to decide on their potential future employment. Depending on the school division’s teacher growth, supervision and evaluation administrative procedure, a teacher with a temporary contract may be evaluated for the same reason.
Teachers With a Continuing Contract
Teachers with a continuing contract are assumed competent because the division has already evaluated them when they worked on a probationary contract. Generally, teachers who have demonstrated competence during the supervision process are not evaluated. However, if the principal identifies concerns, an evaluation may be initiated in accordance with reason (d) above.
The Supervision Process
The supervision process that precedes a potential evaluation must focus on growth, support and guidance. If a principal has concerns about a teacher’s teaching practice, the principal should work with the teacher to identify the concerns and offer feedback, guidance and support. Ideally, the teacher would respond appropriately to these concerns and make changes to their practice accordingly. It is only after unsuccessful attempts to improve the teacher’s practice that a principal may initiate an evaluation. If you are a continuing contract teacher and your principal wants to formally evaluate your teaching practice without identifying any areas of concern or offering to support and guide your practice, an evaluation may be premature. Call Teacher Employment Services (TES) for advice.
The provincial Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy identifies several processes that school divisions must follow when a principal conducts a teacher evaluation to ensure that the evaluation is fair and provides a clear, stable, achievable target for the teacher to achieve. For example, a principal must explicitly communicate to the teacher the reasons for and purposes of the evaluation; the process, criteria and standards to be used; the timelines to be applied; and the possible outcomes. While the provincial policy provides these safeguards for teachers, it does not dictate the exact process that must be used. More specific processes, such as a minimum number of individual classroom observations or applicable time frames, are generally found in the school division’s administrative procedure.
At the conclusion of an evaluation, the teacher should receive a copy of the completed evaluation report that includes the information and evidence that were collected, identifies areas of strength and growth, and shows how the evidence applies to the TQS and whether the teacher’s practice meets the TQS. When being presented with this evaluation report, teachers should also be provided with the opportunity to share their thoughts. Sometimes the report requires a teacher’s signature, which does not mean that they agree with all of its contents but rather confirms that they have received a copy.
Next Steps After an Evaluation
For teachers with continuing contracts, the outcome of the evaluation generally informs the next steps. If the teacher meets the TQS, the evaluation process ends and the principal’s usual supervisory practices would follow. If the TQS is not met, a period of remediation with significant, targeted supports should follow. Call TES for any questions regarding remediation.
For teachers with probationary contracts, it is common for the principal to recommend potential future employment status with the school division. Because staffing is based on various factors, this recommendation is not a guarantee of employment.
Teachers have the right to Association advice throughout the entire process. If you have any questions about an evaluation or the process of supervision that you believe may be leading to an evaluation, please call TES for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
If you have been informed that your principal will be conducting a formal evaluation of your teaching practice, specific processes must be followed that provide safeguards for teachers. For contextual advice, call Teacher Employment Services at 1-800-232-7208. #WEAREATA
Updates from ATA Provincial