After spending the morning developing the rubric, we got together for the afternoon and began with writing about our process. How did we start? What was most challenging? What do we feel confident about? What do we want help. I felt confident about the format I had chosen, but wanted feedback on the content since I wasn’t sure if it would make sense to someone who wasn’t me. Then we broke into groups. I was with an AP Studio Art teacher and an AP Calculus teacher, both of whom were their department heads. We had an amazing conversation about what was the purpose of the rubric (evaluation vs observation/reflection), how did you make it user-friendly, did we want an area for evaluations, should it be lesson-specific and focus on the learning objectives, and so on.
My thoughts going in was that it was for reflection, so I focused on the things I knew I wanted to improve on. They both were thinking in terms of evaluating teaching overall, since as dept heads they have to do that for everyone in their department at least once a year. We talked that through and all redeveloped some aspects of our rubrics. The funny thing is they loved my content and had no suggestions or critical feedback, but one we started talking more I became more and more displeased with the format I had chosen, which was the exact opposite of what I thought would be the results going in. So, now I have taken out any indication of evaluation like “concerns” or “advanced”, because the goal is to give them a place to write down factual observations of student behavior to help me reflect on whether or not I am improving in these areas and how to improve further. I also added an area for the observer to ask questions about my teaching practice so I can reflect on why I made the choices I did.
These conversations led to a lot of consideration of what was the overall purpose of this exercise and how could we use this as a tool to facilitate continuing conversations about our craft. I don’t know if this energy and emphasis will continue once students show up and we’re all buried in teacher work, but the fact that people are interested and willing to spend this time is a good sign and a good start.
Here’s the new rubric. There are some changes and additions to the content, but it’s mostly the formatting to give focus to the intention of reflection over judgement.