My top 10 tips for absolutely crushing your evaluations.
Despite the fact that your evaluator decided to observe you the day AFTER you just did the most amazing project you’ve ever designed ever… it just be like that sometimes.
#1) Evidence. HARD COPIES.
Seriously. Bring in everything that is going to be addressed during the evaluation conference. It’s best to just get a folder/ binder and continue to stuff it with things throughout the year that you have either differentiated, reflected on and adjusted, call logs, student records, PD agendas, etc. As for the lesson plan, yeah it’s easier to just write some stuff on a sticky note – because you know what it means and what point of every activity is – but your evaluator wants to see some unnecessarily long and in-depth lesson plan that addresses the unit plan, individual lesson, agenda, assessment, objectives, and whatever else you can fit on there.
#2) Differentiate. Prove it.
The word we all love to hate and hate to love. Frankly, it does not need to be as complicated as everyone makes it out to seem. Stations, articles at different reading levels, word bank on quizzes, games as assessments, activities and assignments based on interest, level, and productivity. Keep a couple examples and add these to the folder as mentioned above.
#3) Reflect on that shiz.
Administrators love to ask how you reflect on your lessons and if you make necessary changes. I mean, honestly if you aren’t…get it together. Mention things to went awry, games that got too competitive, academic language that isn’t easily understood, rubrics that were too complex, notes that needed tweaked, activities that didn’t address enough developmental areas, procedures that are confusing, etc. Bring the old copy and the new to show proof of your reflection.
#4) Communicate early and often. Track this.
To students, parents, and colleagues. Maybe all communication is posted on the board — i.e. “Yo puedo” statement, homework due section, fechas importantes for upcoming quizzes and events, etc, you use an app such as “Remind,” or solely rely on personal e-mails and text messages. Keep track of all of this and find a way to print off an example. Weekly updates to parents would be a great idea. I always get dinged on my communication with parents. I mean they’re in high school – it’s time to be responsible for yourself; but if I must, I will call your parents and let them know your Spanish homework is missing. It’s okay to call just to complement their child as well.
#5) Classroom setup.
Make that room look BEAUTIFUL. Full of cultural decorations, tables/desks in an orderly fashion, Spanish signs all around, clearly marked areas that align with classroom procedures, goals and upcoming assignments/ quizzes written on the board, you name it. Your evaluator should be inspired by your room.
#6) Make worthless PDs worthwhile.
OMG WHY ARE THERE SO MANY WORTHLESS PDs OUT THERE?!?! Regardless, you need to attend them and you need to sell them. Bring the agenda of some of your favorite PDs and talk to how they have been beneficial and what specifically you were able to bring back to your classroom and make work for you and your students. (make sure you hit some PDs that enhance your content/pedagogy, leadership skills, cultural responsiveness, community engagement, etc…)
#7) Show me the numbers.
Data data data data data data. I have come to hate this word. Yet, it is what everybody wants to see. Keep a gradebook. Use “Quizizz” to track real-time data. Create a semester cumulative exam to watch progress grow. Hold on to projects. Then, be able to talk about how these numbers influence your lesson plans. Obviously, if they get it – move on. If they don’t – reflect on that shiz. Find a way to make that sound elegant though. That being said, there will forever be outliers in your data scheme. Differentiate when possible. Keep a watchful eye on them and look for growth opportunities. Acknowledge laziness when not – but show that you’re working to still keep them on track. Whatever that means for you.
#8) Keep it professional.
Dress for success. Stay out of 15 year old drama. Don’t cuss (at least when the principal is looking.) Show up to work on time – earlier than needed if possible. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of your professionalism, even if everyone else does.
Formal. Informal. Culminating. Project-based. Immersive. Interactive. Student centered. Written. Authentic. Mastery not memorization… we all know how to give a test. They want more than that. Just google all those buzzwords at the beginning and you will get a better idea of how to assess. But remember – use those numbers to influence your lesson plans!! DATA!!!!
In all ways possible. Engage with the students, show you have developed a relationship. Create lessons that people want to participate or even..ENGAGE in. Then think bigger. Start a club. Take more field trips. Bring in guest speakers. Join the Union. Attend sporting events. Go to the school plays. (In all honesty, I am still working on all this… it has taken all my energy just to write a curriculum and hand develop everything I do. My hope is to engage more once I have a grasp on the main elements of my classroom.)