Many students have taken surveys about their past and present teachers and faculty residents over the past year without fully understanding to what they were contributing.
The Board of Trustees instituted the Framework for Teaching program last year, which “articulates best practice for teachers in 3 different areas: knowledge of subject matter, pedagogy, and student support,” said Head of School Margarita Curtis.
The plan includes a second-year review for new teachers that takes place over a 2-3 week period pre-determined during the spring of their first year. A panel consisting of the teachers’ respective department heads, Dean of the Faculty John Taylor, Academic Dean Peter Warsaw, Dr. Curtis, and a teacher from another department of the reviewed teacher’s choice sit in on three classes during this time period.
This review includes detailed student surveys to be completed by all their former and current students, as well as those they have lived with or been associated with in the dorms. The teacher is also asked to write a self-reflection.
“It’s affirmation of what you are already doing well, but also clear and focused feedback on where you can improve,” second-year English teacher Margaret Blake said, in reference to her upcoming winter evaluation, “I look forward to this review.”
After these reviews and the accompanying professional development discussions, ten-year senior faculty members are re-evaluated. It provides accountability among all members of the community.
At the upcoming Trustees meeting at the end of October, Ms. Curtis will pitch a parallel assessment procedure for administrators and the head of school.
“It’s a focus on feedback, growth, and self renewal” said Ms. Curtis.
“We hold our students responsible for their work, so then we as teachers also hold ourselves responsible in our work,” said Ms. Blake about Deerfield’s clear dedication to the mission of self-accountability in every discipline.
“It’s nice to hear the administration is putting themselves in our shoes.”