PDPs the collaborative way
Posted by Lisa Hill on November 14, 2008
This week, teachers at my school celebrated their year’s work by collaboratively reviewing their PDPs (Performance and Development Plans). We meet in small groups of peers and informally share our self-assessments prior to meeting with our reviewers – it’s a wonderful way to celebrate achievements with colleagues who know the context of our work, and share the same journey. At the beginning of the year our graduate teachers meet together to chat about their plans, and so do accomplished teachers, expert teachers and leading teachers. Then we meet again near the end of term four, to celebrate what we have achieved.
It is, perhaps, especially satisfying for leading teachers. Primary leading teachers with full teaching loads have a punishing workload, and sometimes it’s really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. (I have 18 classes a week, and I manage the library as well; it’s even harder for leading teachers with a grade.) Nearly all the work we do relies on team work with others, and so we often find it hard to take credit for our leadership. We tend to undersell ourselves and we are usually much too busy to prepare thoroughly for reviews, especially at this time of the year when more and more things pile up to be done.
(In this last fortnight I have finalised the Strategic Plan, prepared a draft Whole School PD plan for 2009, sent in our report for the 2008 AGQTP small grant we received, written a submission for the 2009 AGQTP and made a start on the Annual Implementation Plan. Oh, yes, and I blogged the Stephen Heppell Policy and Research Forum I went to as well. Who’s got time to prepare a proper PDP self-assessment on top of that? Not me. It’s the last thing on my list of priorities. )
So it is very affirming to meet with other leading teachers who respond to self-deprecating remarks by reminding us about our achievements. There’s always someone who says ‘I haven’t done much this year’ only to be roundly contradicted by colleagues listing work done that was noticed, admired, and appreciated. This is not to say that our work is overlooked or under-appreciated by others. Our Principal and Assistant Principals are generous with praise both public and private, and there is a culture at the school of celebrating school and individual achievements. But there is something very special about celebrating with your peers, and I think that the way we do this at my school is one of the things that makes Mossgiel Park PS a satisfying place to work at.
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