In our return to school today we spent time learning more about T-Tess–the new appraisal system for teachers in Texas (replacing PDAS). I’m actually pretty excited about it. It really lends itself to more of a coaching model within schools, and hey…this instructional coach here is happy about it!
It is divided into 4 Domains: Planning, Instruction, Learning Environment, and Professional Practices and Responsibilities. Read more about it here: https://teachfortexas.org/
The training was heavy on information, but had a few activities built in:
- Small group talk about what makes a lesson an effective lesson. Teachers wrote down their thoughts individually and then had to come to a consensus as a table.
- Rubric breakdown involving the differences between each level (Distinguished to Improvement Needed) and what that really means and looks like in the classroom.
To reflect on T-Tess, on those activities, and on learning, I want to think more about:
What is good teaching?
What does it look like?
What makes it effective?
Education is full of buzzwords, and sometimes you read articles, hear stories, talk with colleagues and it all sounds great, but what does it really look like in the classroom? What does effective teaching look like? What characteristics can you observe?
I’m working on a list that covers both individual characteristics of effective teachers as well as observable characteristics of effective teaching:
- energetic and positive
- encourages independent thought
- accepts criticism
- reflective on quality of their own teaching
- organized and strong time management skills
- able to use wit and humor
- respectful and caring of all students
- frames the lesson and closes the lesson
- uses a variety of instructional techniques
- lessons and assignments are planned purposefully and students can articulate their purposes when asked
- connects learning to concrete, real-life examples
- engages students in critical thinking, research skills, writing skills, and internet safety
- provides frequent feedback to students on their learning
- uses feedback from students (and other professionals) to reflect upon teaching and adjust methods
What is on your list?
I don’t believe that effective teachers just happen. Effective teachers are working constantly to improve their practices–through continued learning, coaching cycles, feedback from students, feedback from colleagues, twitter, and more!