The clinical supervision model is designed to work in cycles that include a pre-observation, observation, and post-observation that help teachers meet their learning objectives. But in actuality, supervision is much larger than this. I personally believe that supervision should include everyone, not just principals or assistant principals, but teachers helping and teaching other teachers. Some of the most appropriate ways to ensure that supervision for the improvement of instruction is regularly occurring is to include supervision with professional development, evaluation and teacher assistance, which is all rooted in trust.
Every year, teachers are asked to establish yearly goals that require self-reflection, observations, and change. As a principal, I should offer professional development for teachers in the areas that they are focusing on to help him/her reach their desired goals. This lays the foundation for success and provides guidance to help inform the teacher. I will need to consider whether the teacher’s goals are specific and measurable, and consistent with the improvements, the teacher should be making. Goals should consist of two or more elements that include, but are not limited to, a school or district oriented goal and an individual goal. I need to offer guidance supplemented with professional development so teachers can learn current best-practices.
I believe teacher evaluation should not be a feared process, but more of a conversation that includes suggestions to help teachers grow professionally. The observation I conduct should be guided and have a clear focus. Working as a team, the teachers and I will determine the focus of the observation through a discussion before the scheduled observation (if allowed contractually). Teachers should be able to discuss elements of their teaching that need improvement in a non-threatening or fearful manner. As a principal, I should listen and provide thought invoking questions that are nonjudgmental and encourages reflection. Though the observation process, the teacher should be provided with elements of his/her teaching that are successful and also areas that need improvement. Once teachers are valued as competent, they should be allowed to take a more active role in the evaluation process by completing an individual project or an Annual Professional Performance Review. The project conducted should be reflective of the teacher’s individual goals, be specific and measurable, with guidance provided from myself and other curriculum resource professionals.
My goal is to create a culture in which teachers are excited to discuss and talk about teaching. Allowing teachers to team-teach and evaluate each other’s teaching practices can support this idea. A culture of collegiality is fostered when teachers have these experiences, and it breaks down barriers that create competitiveness. Through collaborating teachers teach each other, and work together through avenues such as peer coaching, mentoring programs, active research teams, and paraprofessionals that act as a team and share ideas. As a principal, I need to be aware of the topics discussed and supervise by reviewing the work documented and providing insight on topics of interest.
I realize as an administrator, I will face many tasks that are important, but as a supervisor, I need to focus on the elements that will improve instruction and student learning. Teachers will continue to be lifelong learners if the foundation and trusting relationships are in place. This can be achieved if the time and effort is focused on professional development, evaluation, and teacher learning.