By Christine Miles, NJEA staff

A snapshot reveals a moment; a photo album tells your story.

By June 30, every educator will participate in an annual performance review with his or her designated supervisor. While administrators have seen teachers in action in the classroom, these brief, evaluative snapshots merely capture a handful of moments in time and have the potential to miss what goes on “behind the camera.” The annual performance review meeting allows teachers to share their stories—showcasing a complete photo album of a yearlong journey.

What should be expected during an annual performance review?

The annual performance review conference is a collaborative process. It is designed as a time for the teacher and designated supervisor to sit down and review evidence of performance from the school year. This includes results of formal classroom observation, discussion around student growth objectives and student growth percentiles (if available), and progress toward meeting goals of individual professional development plans or, if applicable, corrective action plans.

As a collaborative process, both the teacher and designated supervisor play pivotal roles in the conversation and crafting of the annual performance review. With preparation and foresight, teachers have a greater likelihood of capturing a clear image of their work.

How might you best prepare for an annual performance review?

Being well-informed and organized will greatly enhance the annual performance review experience for everyone involved. By preparing early, you have the opportunity to drive the conversation, tell your story, and ultimately, have a positive impact on your annual performance review.

Meet with your supervisor prior to the annual review

Set the tone early by meeting with your designated supervisor to discuss the scope of the annual review process, mutual expectations, and areas where you would like to focus—ideally, tied to your professional development plan (PDP). Request exemplars and clear-cut models of effective and highly effective practice.

Consider: How does our evaluation tool define effective/highly effective practice in instructional knowledge, planning, and professionalism? How might I exhibit, with sharpness and clarity, effective/highly effective practice in relation to the established criteria?

Develop a strategy to show evidence of growth and impact

Be vigilant by developing and acting upon a professional strategy for capturing, curating, and displaying evidence of your professional growth and impact throughout the year.

Consider: In what manner might I organize and present evidence of professional growth and impact? What routines might I put into practice to ensure I am able to proactively tackle this task?

Engage in self-reflection

As you make final preparations for your annual performance review meeting, take a wide-angle view through self-reflection.

Consider: How am I showcasing a variety of evidence that depicts the full landscape of my practice, planning, and professionalism? Am I leaving unnecessary room for interpretation or clearly illustrating the story of my year?

As educators, you continually capture moments, develop negatives into vibrant images, reflect, refocus, and represent the work that you do as you tell the story of your professional journey.

Christine Miles is an associate director in the NJEA Professional Development and Instructional Issues Division. Email her below.

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