Acting Principal of St. Stephen’s Primary School,??Michael Lewis?? speaking about teacher evaluation and its merits. (JG/BGIS)

Principals and teachers are happy with the Teacher Evaluation system implemented in 2007.

This was stated today by two Principals of public primary schools, during a workshop on Teacher Evaluation which was held at the Media Resource Department, Elsie Payne Complex, St. Michael.

Principal of Thelma Berry Nursery, Angela Chaplain, relating her own experience with teachers under her charge, said they generally agreed that the new system was fair and on that basis "they now want to be evaluated".

She said: "It is important that there be a climate of fairness giving positive vibes to teachers throughout the learning process and in the learning environment. It is crucial in the evaluation process."

Pointing out that the Ministry wanted teachers to understand that it was not a punitive system, Ms. Chaplain said: "When they are aware that the aim and objectives of the evaluation are to improve student achievement to assist teachers in developing themselves in order to enhance their teaching skills and strategies, the teachers along with the principals have a shared vision of what it is we are doing in the learning and teaching situation. So, because it is aimed at improving learning and teaching in the classroom, teachers are on board and they want to do it."

Outlining how the process works, she added: "Currently the Principal as well as a senior teacher, a peer and any of the coordinators (which are trained persons) are responsible for the evaluation. The teachers have more say in terms of what they want to do and when they want to carry out the evaluation.

"They have also been part of the evaluation process in terms of making up these forms so they have a great role to play; they know what the document looks like…Teachers also see the process as a time to share and collaborate with other teachers as well as the principals," Ms. Chaplin said.

Explaining further, the Nursery School Principal said that there was also a pre-conference which used a special form designed by a panel of teachers. "With this pre-conference form the teachers are allowed to use their lesson plan and during that time, if there are any problems that the teacher might be having, materials that the teacher might need to use in order to carry out their lesson effectively, the Principal or the management team is there to provide that.

"So, the teacher is at ease with what he or she is going to be doing because the Principal sees the lesson plan way ahead of the lesson; and so because that initial interaction is there where you set the tone for the conferencing or the observation then, the teachers are more comfortable."

It was also noted that teachers would be able to select who they wanted to see in the interview process and this had a tendency to eliminate strained situations, something which did not happen under the previous appraisal system.

Meanwhile, Acting Principal of St. Stephen’s Primary School, Michael Lewis, said that as a result of evaluation, administrative staff and the classroom teacher tended to be more empowered; had a sense of the importance of teaching as well as their contribution to the classroom school and community.

Stressing that it was an "excellent idea", he said: "The whole empowerment aspect of the teacher comes to the fore when evaluation begins…The same way we evaluate a lesson, what is happening in the classroom, I think that the teacher needs to be evaluated as well and he or she needs to know where he or she is going; where he or she is and how he or she is going to progress from there. ??Without that I don’t feel that the teacher can feel confident that he is doing an excellent job."


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