Implementing and developing an effective teacher coaching and mentoring programme in schools is crucial for the continuous professional development of teaching staff. Observation, feedback and one-to-one coaching provide genuinely personalised support and impressive results. However, implementing a comprehensive plan can be time-consuming and difficult to engineer around busy teaching schedules. We have been discussing this with Mr Jose Ramelle Javier, Grade School Principal from La Salle Green Hills school, a speaker at our upcoming EduTECH Philippines conference.
How do you currently appraise teacher performance?
We follow an integrated system of charting the performance of every teacher. This means that there are clear-cut steps followed by the teacher and the coach throughout the process. Tools for measuring performance are also made available to the coaches. The criteria are based on set indicators and expectations of every teacher. These steps are carefully followed when monitoring performance and the tools utilised when deciding upon interventions appropriate for the growth of every teacher.
Formal and informal classroom visits are held by the coach and at the end of each visit, a post-observation session is conducted. During these sessions the coach highlights areas of strength and those areas that require intervention and improvement. At the end of each semester the coach consolidates the information gathered during the classroom visits and the output from the evaluation tools.
What challenges have you faced implementing a coaching and mentoring system?
One key aspect that is worthy of attention is consistency in interpreting the criteria by each coach. Meaning, measurement is subjective so it is possible that certain coaches give high ratings despite having a guide to awarding points during performance appraisal. It is quite inevitable that teachers compare the ratings they get from their mentor. One coach, for instance, may be perceived as generous as opposed to those who are a bit salient in the designation of points for each indicator.
Another challenge would be the proper and appropriate documentation of critical evidence, to include among others, the accomplishments and weaknesses of the teachers. If one coach fails to cite this in a formal conference then difficulties may arise when formal evaluations takes place.
What steps would recommend to improve teacher coaching?
There are two major improvements I would make to the current system:-
- Schedule a faculty meeting at the start of every school year to reorient them of the system of performance appraisal. During this meeting the common interpretation of performance will be established, as well as practicalities such as the number and timing of the classroom visits.
- It is also crucial that coaches come together before the mid-year and year-end conferences to compare notes and determine areas of synchronicity and commonality. This will improve consistency levels and reduce the need for teachers to discuss the results among each other.
Is technology assisting you to improve your teacher coaching, observation and feedback?
It is a YES. So far we have piloted an online system for the qualitative evaluation of administrators and the generation of results was promising.
In the future, I imagine that these evaluation programmes will become more sophisticated and will allow us to generate much more data so that the coaches, administrators and school leaders will be able to focus resources where they are really needed.
Mr Jose Ramelle Javier will be moderating a roundtable discussion at EduTECH Philippines 2017 on coaching and mentoring for teachers. Sign up today to receive the very best delegate prices for this event, or bring a group and enjoy even further savings.