Having 3 days without pay to go and stand in the rain and chant along to "Kua tai te wā!" is up there with having a root canal on the enjoyment scale - but we did it and it worked! The old 'jump-through-hoops' appraisal system for teachers is out, and Professional Growth Cycles are IN - but the work hasn't stopped - oh no my friends. It's just getting started!
We've never had a better opportunity to flex some teacher agency!
Teachers up and down NZ in primary, secondary and ECE settings said loud and clear that we've had enough of over-engineered appraisal systems.
But most importantly, all parties involved unanimously agreed that there was ZERO evidence that teacher professional portfolios and appraisals were lifting teacher capabilities or learner outcomes.
This is what our friends in the swivelly chairs at the Teaching Council have to say about Professional Growth Cycles:
- There's no longer a legal requirement for evidence of teacher appraisals to be audited
- Professional Growth Cycles will operate on a high level of trust in the profession
- Professional Growth Cycles will focus on professional growth
- The intent is to capitalise on authentic learning collaboration between teachers
- They key is teachers and professional leaders working together to design a system that works for everyone
What we can do ... scratch that ... What we NEED to do to make sure we don't end up right back where we started
- Brush up on Our Code, Our Standards
The practicing teacher standards are still very much a thing. While we don't have to collect evidence to prove that we're doing each one of them, we still have to actually DO each one of them.
- Brainstorm your ideas of what an exceptional Professional Growth Cycle would look like for you
You bet your ass that if you don't think about this, someone else in your school will. The decisions about what Professional Growth Cycles look like in your school might be made for you and could be a million miles away from your ideal vision. Creative solutions come from collaborative conversations where a whole bunch of ideas are considered - this is your chance to create change that'll help to boost your passion for your career.
- Get involved in the planning stage at your school
You've got ideas, it's time to share them. School leaders are encouraged to create a Professional Growth Cycle in collaboration with teachers. Even if the system is already up and running in your school, there's absolutely no harm in starting a conversation with "I've had an idea about how I'd like to really enhance my Professional Growth Cycle..."
- Think about your professional network
We know that there are huge benefits for kids when they work together so of course, the same it true for teachers. You may have collaborative partners in your school, friends from other schools, or indeed, be a part of an online professional learning group. All of these conversations are crucial components of your professional growth cycle.
- Create a professional learning plan
Don't be fooled into thinking that it's your school's responsibility to send you on courses or bring in facilitators to support your Professional Growth Cycle.
We asked for teacher agency and HERE IT IS!
Let's not squander it by waiting for PLD to happen to us!
Your professional learning journey is yours. Take responsibility for it by setting your own goals, undertaking your own research, seeking your own support and starting conversations that grow you.
If we don't take time to be a part of the change
surprise, surprise ...
nothing will change!