Making time to have important conversations is essential, and since we give time to things we value, setting that valuable commodity aside to meet with teachers should be a part of our process at the end of the year.
Although we want reflection to be a part of every educator’s experience every day in different capacities, taking time to see the big picture at the end of the year is also a great way to promote growth in our schools and build better relationships.
End-of-year meetings should be conducted with each member of our teams. Asking teachers to come prepared for this meeting is a way for us to really focus in and use the time constructively. In our district, we use this time to evaluate professional learning and sharing of district goals and community involvement.
We provide teachers with a reflection sheet that aligns with the teaching rubric and ask teachers to think about the goals set at the beginning of the year.
Some questions that could be asked to make the conversation authentic and meaningful are:
- What are you most proud of this year and why?
- Did you meet the goals you set? How do you know?
- What is something you’d like to try next year based on how this year went?
- What did you learn this year that surprised you?
- How can I continue to support you as you grow as a learner?
After we discuss their successes and challenges, we talk about the future. Each conversation ends with tentative goal-setting for next year. This way we intentionally connect the learning of this year to the expectations of the next, and it creates an entry point for the beginning of the year goal-setting meetings, which we do in September.
An additional initiative we have started in our high school is to ask teachers to select a component from our new overarching goals rubric that teachers in the district created during a summer curriculum-writing initiative. In this way, we are all using the same language with students and helping them build these important skills into their content area learning. Plus teachers have the opportunity to select which area they want to develop per marking period, and we can cover more ground with different teachers committing to different areas.
Overall, these conversations have been a way to make the end-of-year discussion less about evaluation and more about personal growth and development of professionalism.
If we are going to shift the way we think about these kinds of professional conversations, we have to make them meaningful to everyone involved or else they will just be another checkbox for things to do on the list.
How can we use end-of-year meeting time to enhance personal and districtwide goals? Please share
Picture made using Pablo.com
The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.