Nothing Is the Same or Is It?

Posted on: Wed, 09/30/2020 - 09:00

This is a phrase we have heard often during the pandemic. For school systems, this means refining nearly every procedure, protocol, and process.

During a recent meeting of the Teacher Evaluation Work Group, the discussion focused on the indicators in the Framework for Teaching that were difficult or impossible to observe in a virtual classroom or that had to be considered in a slightly different way. The conversation was thought-provoking and candid. It raised many important questions, such as, how does a teacher “read the room” accurately in a virtual classroom. It truly seems that “nothing is the same.”

And yet, the discussion affirmed that some things are absolutely the same. When considering the Framework for Teaching or any evaluation process, the goal still remains to grow professionally. This requires trust between the evaluator and the employee. It requires honest dialogue. It requires a willingness to take a risk to improve one’s skill or to improve student engagement or performance. It requires time to reflect on what went well and what did not. It requires a commitment to continual growth.

In fact, the discussion with our Teacher Evaluation Work Group confirmed that all of us are taking risks as we learn new ways of performing our jobs. Whether instructing a class or organizing a meeting or holding a parent conference, we are forced by the pandemic to try new strategies and use new tools. And yet, everyone’s job performance still relies on relationships. Whether we are connecting virtually or face-to-face behind a mask, the relationships we develop will be critical to success for us and for our students.

Nurturing those relationships will always be critically important. While “nothing is the same” for procedures, protocols, or processes, the power of relationships remains the same! Sharing kindness, appreciation, and encouragement is effective all the time.