Am I doing the right work?
Background: In collegial schools, the major goal is the improvement of teaching and
learning. This requires that those participating in the leading
of collegial organizations (which includes principals, department heads,
subject-matter specialists, mentors, etc.) have knowledge, interpersonal
skills and technical skills. These are applied through tasks such
as direct assistance, curriculum development, professional development,
With the increasing
number of beginning teachers and the assignment of mentors based on need
as well as legislation, much of the responsibility for support is typically
assumed by mentors. Principals have to determine how great a role to play
in new teacher development given that they are also responsible for summative
evaluation and making decisions about tenure. Some administrators believe
that by spending time supporting new teacher development, the summative
component will take care of itself, but in reality both types of
support are worthy of principals’ attention.
In general, the school
is likely to reach its goals for student learning when the principal takes
a collegial/developmental approach and treats teachers in a manner consistent
with the way they are expected to work with students. Under such an approach,
the summative evaluation process is often more meaningful to teachers
and typically leads to positive results. There are exceptions, however.
When new teachers perform poorly on summative evaluations, school/district
policies and union contracts dictate how such circumstances are to be
Purpose of this tool: The purposes of the following tool are to assist you in monitoring your
own practice and to determine the nature of your work. Ask yourself,
“Given the amount of professional time that I have, am I doing the
How to use
this tool: To use this tool, allocate a few minutes each week
for documenting your activities with beginning teachers in the building. Is it administrative (hierarchical) or staff (line-development) related?
Plot the tasks on the continuum, making sure that you categorize them
by line (vertical) or staff (horizontal). Study your pattern over
several weeks. If you find the vertical line cluttered with tasks
and the horizontal line fairly empty, ask yourself, “Is that the
trajectory I want to continue? If not, what might I do differently?
Do I really intend to give the mentor complete responsibility for developing
the beginning teacher?” Consider creating a mini-action plan
for yourself if you want to make changes.
a few minutes each week to record your work with beginning teachers.
Is it development (horizontal) related or administrative (vertical)
in nature? Be careful not to rationalize! Continually
check in with yourself. Are you dong the right work?
September 14. Had a 10 minute conversation with DK about our new
16. Spent 15 minutes with BK going over attendance policy.
Glickman, C.D., Gordon, S.P., & Ross-Gordon, J.M. (2001). Supervision and instructional leadership. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.