Monday, May 20, 2013

Leading by Example with regard to Evaluations

The old saying goes that the best teaching method is modeling behavior and I believe it is true. Which makes me wonder why so many international schools fail to have transparent evaluation processes for their leadership positions. I've been to three international schools as an employee and many more for conferences/workshops/presentations, and the rule has been a lack of evaluation for administrators. As a budding educational leader, I see this as a major hurdle in international education. How can we expect to judge the value of others, if we aren't held to the same standard? It is an ethical and professional dilemma in my mind. I know as educational leaders we are forced to make some tough decisions, and that those decisions leave us open to criticism that could be unfair or bias, but does that allow us to avoid transparent evaluation? I think not. 

In fact, it is more of a reason to have transparent evaluation and feedback avenues for faculty, staff, parents, and students. It is similar to the idea of a free press. When a truly free press exists, society's issues are aired openly and discussed in a public forum that allows for multiple view points. With a controlled media, the public feels disenfranchised from legitimate methods of discourse. This results in vandalism, violence, and revolt. A healthy democratic society, which I hope schools try to be, runs more smoothly with a free press. Think of transparent evaluation for administration as your school's free press; it allows the society to vent issues in a constructive manner rather than destructive.

West Virginia as developed a rubric and evaluation system for educational leaders that is an excellent starting point for schools that are looking to improve leadership and model reflective practice. I'm hoping that these type of systems become the norm in international schools in the future rather than the anomaly. In the past at KIS, Robin Schneider (@robin_ISH) used Google Forms to gather data on his job performance as the middle school principal, which was something I admired and appreciated about him. He was not required to do this by the school, but wanted to model reflective practice and the importance of evaluation for all teachers and administrators. It is too bad that his efforts ended after he left the school.

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