Monday is my TPA (Teacher Performance Appraisal a.k.a. teacher evaluation). I’ve known about this for a while, and even picked the date and time that I wanted. I chose the lesson, and I chose the follow-up activity. This is certainly not the first time that my principal has been in the classroom to see me teach. Our principal and vice principal do regular walk throughs, and I see them all the time. After my last blog post on walk throughs, I even invited them in more regularly to make me feel more comfortable when they do visit. And this has helped — a lot — but the truth is that I’m unbelievably nervous about Monday.
I can tell myself that there’s nothing to be nervous about. Paul, my principal, is doing my TPA, and he is so welcoming and so far from intimidating. He’s been fantastic throughout this whole process, and I know that it’s silly to be scared … but I am. I’ve been trying to reframe the situation, and see this as a great learning opportunity: as a way to find out about what I do well, and as a way to set next steps together. This isn’t helping though: I really want to be at my best, and my nerves are making me want to throw up.
So here’s my plan to avoid a #pukealert as the #kinderchat Twitter crew would say 🙂 .
1) Write this blog post. This post is really for me. When I blog, I get out all of my feelings and thoughts, and this often does make me feel better. I’m hopeful that this will work in this situation as well.
2) Be well-prepared … I mean really well-prepared. I’m the planning type, so to be honest with you, I’m almost always well-prepared, but this time my plan will also involve a detailed lesson plan. I’m going to think carefully about what I want to say. I’m going to have my questions ready. I’m probably going to be more scripted than I usually am, as I know that when I get nervous, I talk more, so a plan will help.
3) I’m going to keep my instructions meaningful, but short. I don’t want to talk forever. I always attempt not to, but on Monday, I really want to minimize full class teaching time. This is for two reasons: 1) I see far more value in small group instruction than full class instruction, and once the full class lesson is over, the group work can begin. 2) When I’m teaching the full class lesson, Paul’s eyes will be completely on me. I know that. And honestly, I’m mentally preparing myself for that. But this is what will make me more nervous, so I want to reduce this time, and get into a situation where I forget about the gaze and can just focus on the students.
4) Have fun! I love my job! I honestly can’t imagine doing anything other than teaching, and when I work with students, I am totally and completely happy. I love having fun in the classroom. I love what happens when learning and laughter come together, and I want Paul to experience this magical time too. So I’ve planned for an activity that will let him experience this, and let me experience this as well. We’ll be building our Organ System Displays. I can’t wait!
5) I told my students that Paul’s coming in on Monday. I wanted them to know … not because they need to know all of the details, but because if they realize he’s coming, they won’t make a big deal when he arrives. I don’t want his visit to be a distraction to them, and just like I let them know when other visitors are coming, I did the same thing for this “visit.”
I know that the TPA Process is not a show. There will be no singing, dancing, or comedy routine 🙂 , but have I tried to plan the best activity possible for this? Yes! I want Paul to see as much as he can during his short visit, and I want it to be a success. How do you feel about formal evaluations? What advice do you have to calm a topsy-turvy tummy? 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts!