My most recent post was a review of 3 goals that I set for myself and my teaching in 2015. These were goals that I created after several days of professional development and endless meetings about school operations. These were just for me and no one else was checking in with me or supporting me with them. If I had asked for support there probably would have been someone who would have been happy to give it, but I didn’t ask.
Many schools these days require teachers to build and work through a performance development plan alongside the other million things that they are required to do. The idea is that teachers set goals that will improve their practice and then plan how they will reach their goals. I can only tell you how things work at my school and my experience with the framework that we are using this year. It has become more involved each year and will, no doubt, be refined more next year. You don’t need the history of how we have come up with our current model, so I will just jump right in.
Step 1: The Leadership team of our school (heads of department, deputy principals and the principal) are all allocated to a group of 5-6 teachers who they mentor for the year. Some teachers have had the same mentor for the past two or three years, while others have had one or two changes. I often end up losing my mentor as they move to bigger and better things mid-year and I have to be taken under the wing of another. (I’m beginning to think I might be good luck for mentors). Each mentor is also given their own mentor so everyone has someone supporting them on their development journey.
Step 2: Teachers completed a survey created by the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). The idea is that the responses that teachers give to the survey questions determine how well a teacher is meeting each of the professional standards for teachers. I feel that some questions were ambiguous. While examples were provided, these sometimes caused even more confusion. After collating the teacher’s responses the online tool highlights the practice/ indicators that the teacher is doing well and lists those that need improvement.
Step 3: Teachers meet with their mentors and use the results from the AITSL self-assessment tool to formulate three main goals (using the SMART goal framework). The teacher and mentor then discuss both action steps and indicators of success.
Step 4: The teacher goes out and puts the plan into action. If there are concerns or issues along the way the teacher is able to meet with their mentor to discuss possible solutions. The mentor might point the teacher in the direction of other teachers who are working towards similar goals or who have expertise that may be useful.
Step 5: Review and reflect (this should happen throughout the year but it often happens at the end of the process) on whether goals have been met, which action steps were useful. I am feeling it is important for me to do these reflections on my own and at several points in the year rather than relying on the timing of the school plan. At the final stage of this performance development process, staff are encouraged to share their success and celebrate it. They can use this final meeting to identify which goals were not reached and acknowledge the reasons. It is also a good time to consider some ways to overcome hurdles that may cause an issue to development in the future.
Next Time we visit this topic I will tell you my goals and success criteria, then share my action plan with you. I may share some shorter posts with you before then if I see something that I think is important to share.
Questions you might like to answer in the Comments
What is the process for performance development in your school? Is it a school based framework or something that is used throughout your district/ region/ state? What are your goals for this year and how are you going with them?