This is my 4th year using the 5D+ teacher evaluation model with staff. I went to all of the training sessions when our district adopted the model. I spent one summer being trained at MASSP so I could go into other districts to train teachers and administrators on the model. Even with that experience, I am learning new things each year as I work to improve the process of supporting teacher growth.
One of the challenging pieces for me has been to come up with a system, a specific process, for giving teachers written feedback. Here are the steps that I am currently using. Step #5 below is what I’m going to expand upon in this post.
1. Approximately 20-minute observation with a running script.
2. Stay in the classroom to code, notice, and wonder.
3. Stay in the classroom to send the teacher an email about next steps in the observation cycle (The first 3 steps usually take me about 45 minutes).
4. The teacher responds to me electronically within 24 hours to my wonderings. I stress to them that their response should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.
5. I provide written feedback to the staff member.
6. We meet in person to discuss the observation.
While all steps hold value in supporting teacher growth, steps #5 and #6 are where the action taken by the administrator can have a significant impact. I am usually in my office as I complete step #5. Here is what I’m currently doing to provide the teacher with feedback that is most likely to impact their instructional practice.
* Close my office door and block out any interruptions
* Make sure I have the 5D+ instructional framework open and next to me. The vision statements and guiding questions really support my thinking
* I have 4 tabs open on my computer within PIVOT. One is the teacher responses to my wonderings. A second shows the feedback I gave in the previous observation. The third is the teacher’s growth plan and the last is the new feedback I’m about to provide. I am constantly switching back and forth between those tabs as I decide on what feedback might be in the zone of proximal development for the teacher.
* As far as what I write, here is the format that has worked best for me.
– I thank the teacher for their thinking, reflection, and response
– I share my big takeaways regarding patterns in their overall practice or from this specific lesson. This usually is not tied to their 3-5 areas of focus.
– Finally, I give them 3 pieces of feedback, each tied to an area of focus. Sometimes it’s simply encouraging them to do something that is new to them or they are trying in a new way. It doesn’t always have to be a brand new suggestion or change. Other times it’s a directive and very clear. It could be a question for them to consider or ponder. When I read them back to myself, I always want to be sure they are manageable for the teacher and that I’m able to provide necessary support.
I wanted to take the time to share out some of that thinking and process because it did not come to me naturally. Feel free to call (616-340-9254) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if I can ever be of assistance as you provide feedback to teachers. I’ve sat next to administrators as they’ve gone through the process of deciding what feedback to write and how to write it. Administrators have also asked me to sit in or film their post-observation meetings. If you have questions, a wonder, or advice on how you think I could improve my practice, feel free to contact me!