About stefhite

After a 10-year career in advertising and PR, I attend the University of Pennsylvania to get an MSEd in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. After teaching grades ranging from Kindergarten to 7th, I returned to UPenn to earn a Doctorate in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum. Since then I have moved into educational administration. I now work as a consultant, supporting the work of schools, districts, associations, state boards of education, and private companies -- all to improve teaching and learning for students.

The US Teaching Profession is in Crisis

Opinion piece from the Center for American Progress:

Education is a profession that relies heavily on talent but doesn’t invest in it. The average school district has only one recruiter for every 2,000 students. Sixty percent of districts don’t post job openings on social media. Only 6 percent have applicants teach a lesson as part of the hiring process, and two-thirds don’t even interview prospective teachers.

In Finland, by contrast, one of the highest-performing countries for education, it’s easier to become a doctor or a lawyer than a teacher…

Read the article here.

Getting Evaluation Right

The verdict is in … traditional approaches to teacher evaluation aren’t working. See the recent Rand report assessing the multi-year, multimillion dollar Gates effort, that found: “the initiative did not achieve its goals for student achievement or graduation, particularly for LIM students. ”

In Here’s How Not to Improve Public Schools, Cathy O’Neill argues that the Gates initiative did more than “not achieve its goals” … it actually “unfairly ruined careers, driving teachers out of the profession amid a nationwide shortage. And its flawed use of metrics has undermined science.”

And in a recent opinion piece in Forbes by Peter Greene, he simply states: “Creating a teacher evaluation system is hard—really hard.”

But there is a way to get evaluation right … for the past several years I have been working with schools who are intentionally designing systems that build collective efficacy. Join me at the IB Conference in Vienna this October to learn how to get evaluation right, or contact me at Tigris Solutions.

Evaluation Systems Need Fixing

From a recent Edweek article:

“It’s clear to most educators that the current crop of teacher-evaluation systems is flawed, overwrought, and sometimes just plain broken …”

Consider IDEO’s findings about traditional annual reviews:

“No one likes annual reviews: They’re structured, overly formal, and they make it difficult to get real feedback that you can act upon.”

And a recent Rand study in which:

“Only 31 percent of teachers reported that they have sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers.”

Rethink evaluation by finding out about new approaches that work by building collective efficacy. Come to my pre-conference session on Opening Classroom Doors at the IB Global Conference in October. Or attend my session on Observers as Learners at Learning Forward this December. Or better yet, contact me at Tigris Solutions. There are better ways to enhance professional practice!

Collaboration is Key

Some findings from a recent Rand research study:

Only 31 percent of teachers reported that they have sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers.

Teachers who reported having greater opportunities and time for collaboration consistently reported higher levels of collaboration activity, regardless of the type of collaboration in question.

Peer observation was the least common form of peer collaboration, with 44 percent of teachers reporting that they never observed another teacher’s classroom to get ideas for instruction or to offer feedback in a typical month.

Access “The Prevalence of Collaboration Among America’s Teachers” here.

Willingness to Engage

Can’t say enough about Dylan Marron and his podcast Conversations with People Who Hate Me. His strategy of holding space for people who have published racist and homophobic things about him is evidence that there is incredible power in having these conversations, if only we are willing to engage.

NYTimes has an interview in today’s magazine section. Although given an unfortunate title, it’s worth reading and hopefully inspires a visit to his podcast.