Monday, July 21, 2014

How should teachers view the professional growth process?

The evaluation tool should operate as a support to teachers and administrators, guiding our instructional conferences and encouraging continuous improvement within our craft of educating children.    We should have a strategic plan that changes with the landscape of education throughout our careers.  Educators should focus on building relationships that motivates and creates a love for learning, maximizes instructional time, increases engagement, and empowers students to be life-long learners!  

So, as you set professional growth goals at the start of the school year, remember to utilize the evaluation tool as an instrument to flourish, supporting and enhancing your professional growth. 

How should teachers view the professional growth process?   As an experience to:

•             Grow as a professional, creating opportunities to set goals and attending professional development to sustain growth.  Provide quality differentiated instruction for all students, while focusing on innovative ways to improve classroom instruction and ultimately student learning.

•             Collaborate efforts between fellow teachers, working as a team to improve building climate and instruction. 

•             Be positive!  Embrace change with an open mind and be an active participant during professional growth meetings and instructional conferences.  Be prepared and excited to sustain learning. 

•             Develop high expectations for yourself and students while consistently self-reflecting on your teaching and professional growth. 

•             Build trust and personal relationships with building principal and colleagues, approach the teacher professional growth process in a professional manner, willing to accept positive and constructive feedback.

•             Be open about concerns or frustrations, working with building principal to problem solve solutions rather than remaining stagnant. 

•             Remain confidential regarding your rating within the professional growth process.  The process should be an experience of continuous improvement and discussing ratings between teachers is not recommended.    It’s another reason why I continue to advocate for the elimination of the highly effective rating, while changing the method from an “evaluation” process to a “professional growth” process.

•             Understand that the teacher evaluation process is never final, we are always setting professional goals focused on improvement.

•             Accept that a single classroom observation (one way or another) does not provide the entire picture.  Multiple visits during the year and honest self-reflection is necessary to make a holistic assessment of effectiveness. 

•             Recognize that our children deserve and need effective teachers!  If you are unable sustain a positive evaluation ratting then you must have an honest conversations with yourself, your principal or a trusted colleague.  Find a mentor that can support you, either by reestablishing your teaching skill set or counseling you into another profession. 

•            Embark on all decisions with a basic question:  Is it good for children?

I always value the work teachers and administrators do each and every day!  Our jobs are difficult but extremely rewarding!  Thank you for always putting students first and not thinking they are a number, recognizing their individual needs! 

Reflecting on our effectiveness is important… what we do after we reflect is professional growth! Keep reflecting and making the most of your profession.  Educators are the best!

Have a great week!

Keith Howell

Related Posts:


  1. I love how everything begins with the question, "Is it good for kids?" This is essential, and occasionally it is missed! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks! It is important to keep that question as our primary consideration! Have a great day and thanks for reading!

  2. I enjoy your thinking on this topic. If done correctly, the professional growth process can benefit our students. It is unfortunate that ratings have been attached to the potential to lose one's job. That factor can get in the way of true reflection and growth. You are absolutely right: we must always be answering the question, "Is it good for children?"

    1. Thanks Walt and thank you for the comments. We need to bring conversations back to professional growth rather than effectiveness. I appreciate you reading and your dedication to educating children... always asking "Is it good for children?" Have a great finish to the summer.