The state of Texas completed a major overhaul of its teacher evaluation system and it has been a change for the better already. The former system called “Professional Development and Appraisal System” or PDAS was developed 20 years ago and at the time was an improvement over the existing teacher evaluation tool. I am sure there is someone that can tell me that tool’s name (or I can ask the Google) because I was completing my bachelor’s degree at the time PDAS being developed and quite frankly still in denial that I was going to be an educator. That is a completely different blog post!
Now, the state of Texas has developed the T-TESS (Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System) evaluation tool. There are many new and great components about T-TESS that I really like but perhaps the most critical and my most favorite of these tools are the purposeful conversations that T-TESS makes you have as educators. The goal of T-TESS is for professional growth through goal setting, achievement, reflections, conversations, and observations. The focus is on teacher growth, as it should be.
One of my main purposes for becoming a principal was to support teachers. This support has been just as much for me as it has been for them, but don’t tell them that.
The past two weeks I have spent much of my time having goal setting conversations with my teachers over their T-TESS aligned goals they have set for themselves. These have been two of the best two weeks of my principalship. Why have they been so great? It is because I have been intentionally listening to my teachers and working to support them as they push themselves to become better practitioners.
There have been some teachers that I just needed to listen to, ask a couple of clarifying questions, and then ask them how can I support them. There have been some teachers that I needed to help create more specificity in their goals because they were not sure of how to write what they wanted to accomplish as it relates to T-TESS. And there were some teachers that I just needed to give them a confidence boost because they were not sure of what to do. I have been able to support my teachers in very real ways. I really like that.
One of my main purposes for becoming a principal was to support teachers. This support has been just as much for me as it has been for them, but don’t tell them that ;o)
As the year progresses I cannot wait to see where the conversations lead us. I encourage you to take part of these purposeful conversations. Make the time for the conversations and allow them to develop. Listen without thinking of what you are going to say next. Help by asking how can I support you to achieve your goals.
Be purposeful in your conversations. Teachers deserve that.
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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