Another great session I attended at RSCON3 last week was Akevy Greenblatt's presentation about creating more positive relationships in schools. Akevy is a lower school principal of a Jewish orthodox day school in Memphis, Tennessee and since the school is a small one he also doubles as a Grade 5 teacher. He brought to this presentation his perspective from being on both sides of the desk - as an administrator and as a teacher.
The session opened with an Xtranormal movie about teacher evaluation:
He went on to talk about different models of leadership - the traditional method and a new model that builds better relationships. The old method is all about power and control - because the administration does not want to give up control the teachers are not empowered. It's very rigid and there are no common goals.
The new method has the goal of meeting student needs and creating better learning. If we put students first then it's not so much of a power struggle. Teachers and administrators come together to benefit students so there is more conversation about the common goal. Doing things together as a team builds trust and promotes growth. Teachers need honest feedback - which doesn't always mean praise. This feedback helps teachers to grow into leaders themselves. The goal of a good leader should be to produce other leaders, not just to have followers. The goal of any good school administrator should be to produce more teacher leaders.
How can we do this? The main idea behind this presentation was that administrators should lead by example and model what they want teachers to do. To do this it's necessary for them to put themselves into the hot seat - in the classroom. Good leaders encourage risk taking - failure is an option and can lead to success. There should be open, two-way lines of communication and teachers need to be given space and freedom - they need to be empowered and shown that school leaders have confidence in them. Administrators need to be there to help their teachers grow. Another piece of advice is to listen more and talk less - this shows teachers that you value them and their concerns.
In the case of teacher evaluation Akevy Greenblatt pointed out that what is good for students is also good for teachers - if administrators want their teachers to be facilitators of learning, then they themselves should be facilitators of teachers growth. The only way to do this is with two-way communication and teacher feedback. The focus of all teacher evaluation needs to be student learning.
Akevy Greenblatt shared Kim Marshall's Rubric for teacher evaluation which is divided into 6 areas:
- planning and preparation
- classroom management
- delivery of instruction
- monitoring, assessment and follow up
- family and community outreach
- professional responsibilities
Kim Marshall has a rubric for principal evaluation as well. This rubric is also divided into 6 areas:
- diagnostics and planning
- priority management and communication
- curriculum and data
- supervision and professional development
- discipline and parent involvement
- management and external relations
Photo Credit: Two by Ferran Jordà