Performance management is a slightly threatening phrase. I pretty much associate it with the following things:
- Am I still competent (i.e. can I prove that nobody needs to worry about me)?
- Can I find something to ‘tick a box’ to show I’m doing something towards school development?
- Am I allowed to progress up the pay scale?
- Can I do one reasonably good observed lesson every year?
Hardly inspiring stuff. That aside, I’m a bit of an obsessive about reflecting on my practice and self-improvement, and outside of the performance management structure I do a huge amount of reading and research to improve my teaching. It strikes me that there is a fantastic opportunity for people to really engage with reflective tools (like the collaborative teacher skills rubric that I started), and use collaborative professional learning groups to conduct action research within their school and alongside colleagues at other schools around the world.
What if performance management began each cycle with a meeting with a school coach who had a meeting with you to help you assess your own practice and identify areas in your best lessons that you’d like to develop, and find areas you find challenging where you could benefit from some ideas from colleagues?
You could then go through the year documenting your reading, meetings and reflections in a blog (perhaps a staff area on the school VLE). This would be much of your evidence, and would include observations from your learning-group colleagues as well as mentors/coaches who are all there to help you along the way. Part of your performance management would also be to help other teachers reflect and grow in their own practice.
There could be so many ways to do this. You could decide to spend the first half of the year researching best practice in a certain area and trying new ideas, linking with other teachers via Twitter. Then, in the second half you could run some twilight INSET to start cascading these new ideas down to other teachers who have signed up for this idea.
I’m at the very beginning of a mental journey to develop these ideas, and I’d love to hear what other schools do. I know there must be some amazing examples of enlightened Continuing Professional Performance and Development Management out there and I can’t wait to hear how it works, and how to build on this.