A LYS Assistant Principal asks the following:


I attended one of your workshops in Austin and wanted a quick clarification about instructional coaching.  You stressed the importance of providing feedback to your teachers and having coaching pieces separate from evaluation pieces.  How do you provide constructive criticism and affirm the things going right for teachers, but not have it positively or negatively affect their evaluation?  Are you not supposed to praise teachers that could possibly become TINA’s?

Your input and perspective would be appreciated!

LC Response Thanks for attending one of Sean’s sessions and again for thinking about these issues which affect our teachers in such a powerful way! Coaching teachers falls under the formative umbrella – we advocate providing feedback and coaching AFTER you have enough data to show trends, habits and routines that normally occur in the classroom.  Sitting down with teachers for a coaching conference usually occurs after 15-20 PowerWalks in that classroom.  You listen more than you talk and you set goals to work on over the next 15-20 PowerWalks to improve instruction.  You will notice that the teachers who respond to coaching will work to establish new habits and routines in the classroom that will impact the evaluations in a positive way, even though the coaching is separate.

On the flip side, a teacher who does not respond to coaching – a teacher who digs in his or her heels and refuses to put forth the effort to get better – then that is the time when you as the leader have a formal conference to tell them that their classroom visits will no longer be formative.  They will have evaluative visits that will be documented and a TINA will be developed.  That way you have started your timeline of when the evaluative cycle begins.  Then you develop a TINA with this teacher and he/she works through it.  

The goal of a TINA is to improve practice, so yes of course you give positive feedback when warranted.  We want the TINA to work! If the TINA works more students will learn and succeed with that teacher and the teacher is able to keep his/her job.  Sometimes the TINA doesn’t work and it is the responsibility of leadership to do the right thing and NEVER pass on a “bad egg” to another campus where more students are short-changed because we didn’t do what we needed to do.

So formative and evaluative classroom visits are different.  One is to grow and improve and the other is to demonstrate the growth and improvement.  Hope this helps!

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “Look at Me: A Cautionary School Leadership Tale” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/lookatmebook 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool); PW Lite (Basic PowerWalks Tool); PW Pro (Mid-level PowerWalks Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: NASSP National Conference; The 21st Century High School Conference  
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook