In my short three years of teaching I have undoubtedly grown thanks to veteran teachers, parents, coaches, deans, assistant principals, and principals. In a profession where students' future prospects depend on my effectiveness, I need to grow and better myself each day, each lesson.
I have taught at two high schools as a full-time English and writing teacher. Both schools have offered coaching and formal evaluations regarding my professional strengths and weaknesses with the goal for me to increase my teacher effectiveness.
At my current school, I am observed at least once a week by my coach, peers, or superiors. But, in my three years of teaching, I have yet to enter a meeting with a coach, dean, assistant principal, or principal where he or she only discusses how well I am doing. This reality is damaging for me and, I think, for other teachers.
Appreciation and validation feedback is typically minimal and short. It usually comes during a faculty meeting in a 60-seconds or less "shout out" or in a quick conversation passing by in the hallway or standing in line for the copier. We, teachers, know this is not good enough. We deserve more appreciative and validating feedback in a formal and official manner.
Just like students and other professionals, I need to hear more of what I'm doing well. No, I don't want a compliment sandwich, and I don't need someone to insincerely stroke my ego. Also, I know, as a young teacher, I don't have a lot figured out, but I do have a handful of excellent teaching strategies from planning to executing to building student relationships, and I want to sit down with my superior and engage in a discussion solely about those strengths and successes. I want my superior to inquire on how I plan and reach those successes in my classroom. Essentially, appreciate and validate my work and me as a professional in a serious, formal manner.
I push for more coaches, deans, assistant principals, and principals to set aside official, formal meeting time to offer appreciative and validating feedback to teachers and leave it at that. Do not sneak in a "raise the bar" or "area for growth" just leave it be. There will be time for that in a coaching or evaluation meeting. Right now is the time for more appreciation and validation feedback; it is just as important for teachers' development, growth and sustainability.
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