Be Your Own Best Advocate
This is the time in an educator’s contract year when principals begin notifying them about observation scheduling. The question GEA is now receiving from members is “Why?! On top of everything else – why go through the observation/evaluation process?”
Educators are doing the very best they can just to keep their heads above water. Some days, it’s all you can do to get out of bed and off to work. Stress, anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion rule the day. Principals are not exempt from these same feelings and concerns, and they, by law and school policy, are required to observe and evaluate educators each year.
GEA has had ongoing conversations with the Granite School District Assistant Superintendents regarding observations and evaluations and expectations of teachers during the time of Covid-19. Teaching strategies and lesson plans have changed to social distance for safety. Administrators have been counseled to not expect to see what they would in a “normal” school year. We have been assured that this fact has been discussed with principals and leniency in instructional strategies such as proximity, small group instruction, changes in lesson design, hands on activities, etc. will be considered.
If you are a provisional teacher or are in the ‘summative’ year of your evaluation cycle, your observation will become part of an evaluation score. The time for you to make an appeal on an observation and/or evaluation score is BEFORE you sign and finalize the document. You are your own best advocate when it comes to a fair observation, and timing is everything. Your principal should email you a draft of your observation and schedule a debrief meeting with you to review the scores, sign, and finalize. When you receive this draft, review carefully with objectivity. If you note scores on some standards that are lower than normal due to the impact Covid-19 realities have on your classroom, now is the time to gather evidence to the fact that you have had to limit your teaching strategies and why. Once you have gathered the evidence you need, schedule to meet with your principal, present the evidence and work together to modify the scores appropriately.
If you need help with this process, call GEA and we will review the observation report with you and advocate on your behalf.