This blog made me reflect on how I lead at our school. I wondered whether our teachers felt the same way as many of the teachers in the survey. I think our teachers would agree that we do try to communicate as much information as possible via emails or our staff bulletin rather than through faculty meetings. Many of our teachers know of my aversion to sitting in meetings where we "sit and get" and where the agendas are composed of compliance issues and mandates. This is primarily why I do my best not to do that to our staff. However, Peter suggests that another reason why teachers may be disengaged in faculty meetings is because they have not been asked for their suggestions and have not helped to co-construct the agenda.
Peter also mentioned that classroom observations are a problem, especially when teachers are at the receiving end of feedback and the observation does not create new learning opportunities for them. A major component of our State's evaluation system is a teacher observation using the Danielson framework. I personally do not believe that 30% of a teacher's evaluation should be based on one observation, and I've shared my viewpoints previously in an earlier blog. I enjoy going into classrooms to talk with kids and see what kind of learning is taking place, but I prefer less formal observations that give me information about what goes on in the classroom on a daily basis and not just once a year during a required observation.
Finally, Peter shares that school climate is impacted negatively when relationships between leaders and their staff are strained, and he suggests that we start by changing the way we do faculty meetings and classroom observations/evaluations. I agree. I believe that how we conduct faculty meetings, professional development sessions, or observation feedback with our teachers should mirror what we want to see in the classrooms where the outcome would be excited learners following their passions and trying new ideas, collaborating with their peers, and self-reflecting to improve. The first step is being open to ideas from our staff to determine faculty meeting agendas or professional development sessions. The second step is to work with teachers to build their capacity to lead these sessions with their peers.
After all, education is about the learner and the learning. This is true not only for students but for teachers and school leaders as well.