Last week we had our final conferences with our administrators on the PPEP (Professional Something Evaluation Something? I don't know what it stands for, but it's how we in DCPS are evaluated as teachers). I'm sure that someone could write a book about the flaws of that system, but it is what it is. And it's out of our hands. What is not out of our hands, however, is how the PPEP is applied. And in my school, it was applied in a manner that can be summed up in one word: crap.
A couple of weeks ago we were given the evaluation form to fill out for ourselves. I'm pretty sure this is not how the PPEP is supposed to work -- my understanding is that the principal is supposed to fill it out with us there -- but whatever. We were then directed to come to the principal's office at a given time to submit the evaluation and conference about it.
The way I see it, teachers are divided into two groups at my school. One group (mostly -- but by no means exclusively -- newer teachers) is desperate for some kind of support, so they see the evaluation as an opportunity to have an honest conversation with our principal about ways they can grow. They spend time filling out their evaluation, and give themselves some "needs improvement" ratings on the areas where they think they do want to get better. They end up ranking themselves probably lower than the principal would. The other group, (mostly -- but, again, by no means exclusively -- veteran teachers) has been trained by DCPS to avoid honesty in evaluation. These teachers fear that any admission of weakness could be an opening for administrators to fire them. They fill out mostly "exceeds expectations" even if they don't believe (or deserve) it. They end up ranking themselves probably higher than the principal would.
Here's where it gets crappy. The principal spent literally 45 seconds reviewing each of our evaluations. She said, "OK, keep it up," signed my form, and sent me on my way. Gee, I'm glad I poured all that reflective energy into it. And, even better, I'm glad that the principal reaffirmed for everyone that it doesn't pay to be honest. Why don't principals use the evaluation process as a tool to help teachers grow? Teachers will never be honestly reflective if administrators aren't willing to actually support and lead them. The truth is that administrators want these dishonest evaluations. No hard thinking, no lengthy paperwork, and no responsibility. This school is ridonkulous.
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