Attempts are being made to ensure that there is fairness in the evaluation of principals and teachers across this island’s secondary and primary schools, through the use of the Teacher Evaluation System introduced in 2007.
This was disclosed yesterday by Senior Education Officer, Patricia Warner, as she addressed the start of a half-day workshop on teacher evaluation for acting principals who were recently assigned to public primary schools at the Media Resource Department, the Elsie Payne Complex.
Warner said the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development was moving into an era where teacher evaluation, was taking on a special emphasis not only in Barbados, but in the entire world. Denouncing the previous appraisal system which was “left to the discretion of one person, whether they liked you or not”, she said “then it was about personality rather than performance”.
While principals heard that Barbados was the only territory that had a Teacher Evaluation System that was considered as “the flagship for success, [or] failure and how to get it right” in the region, the education official stressed, “I don’t think that we should rest on our laurels”.
She disclosed that there were some appointed administrators who had never been evaluated and said: “That speaks a lot to our system. You need to evaluate those senior persons in your organisation; it is almost a must as interviews come up very shortly for [the post of] principal.”
“I hope all of you have sought to secure [this], if you have had some evaluation report written on your performance, for forwarding on to Personnel Administration Division (PAD), because that is going to be of utmost importance. We are not going to even start the interview unless that is present… You may not even get shortlisted; you will get pushed down the list because you don’t have an evaluation,” Warner added.
It was further stressed by the educational official that the lack of an evaluation had implications for not only principals, but for persons who may be appointed as senior teachers or are senior teachers in their schools. Principals were, therefore, encouraged to do the evaluation for these employees and were reminded that teacher evaluation was legislated.
Warner noted that a lot of work had gone into designing the process, adding it had very good guidelines and its goals included student improvement, teacher improvement, staff development and accountability.
Principals were told that the concept of student improvement was everyone’s business and this was related not only to the academics.
“Social and emotional learning are big indicators; [and this involves the] inclusion of parents; helping children to think good of themselves and if you do that, even teachers would start to think highly about themselves,” stressed the official responsible for teacher evaluation in the ministry.
She added that once students started to develop then teacher improvement and satisfaction would be realised.
The 30 principals present at the workshop were also told that once teacher evaluation was done it would lead to staff development, involvement in the planning of professional development exercises and to the merging of the needs of both teachers and management.