Fast and furious - - - that's how I'd describe changes recently experienced by Indiana teachers. RISE, the Indiana evaluation and development system, presents the newest, and perhaps most daunting, change.
When I first laid eyes on the Indiana Teacher Effectiveness Rubric, the high bar of expectation chilled me to the bone. How could I attain a 4 in every category? The indicators for Highly Effective describe a perfect teacher!
I began to relax when I noticed three things:
1. The Highly Effective rating describes an educator who is exceeding expectations; Effective, a 3, indicates that the teacher is meeting expectations. Therefore, I can continually reach for a 4 (perfection) but know that I am doing just fine if I receive a 3.
2. The indicators for Highly Effective can be attained through hard work and planning. The evaluation process itself is meant to help Indiana educators RISE to the challenge. It will make us better teachers.
3. Evaluators "compile ratings and notes from multiple observations, drop-ins, and other sources of evidence." I liken this to National Board Certification. The educator is judged on rigorous criteria by outside evaluators; however, the educator herself may compile and share evidence of her competency. This is key.
As the new teacher evaluation system rolls out, Indiana educators cannot sit quietly and wait for evaluators to determine their effectiveness. Teachers must take matters into their own hands by digging into the Teacher Effectiveness Rubric, planning for improvement, and collecting artifacts to prove effectiveness.
This website chronicles my quest to become a Highly Effective teacher. It includes a plan of action, documentation, and suggested readings for each of 23 indicators and competencies. This is an ambitious undertaking. The Indiana Teacher Effectiveness Rubric is deep and wide. To tackle this endeavor, one must subscribe to Calvin Coolidge's famous adage: "We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once." I will begin by pinpointing one specific weakness, taking action to improve, and documenting my improvement.
My journey will not be the same as yours, but I hope it will help make yours a little easier and more successful.
Brenda Kovich, NBCT
Comments or suggestions? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. You can peek inside my first trek through the RISE process in these blog posts: