Know Your Rights: Education Quarterly, Issue 7 2023
Discussions between teachers and their immediate supervisors about teaching practice should be a normal part of professional practice and may occur in the context of dialogue within the Performance and Development Framework.
Schools have a responsibility to support teachers with their professional learning needs, which is why goals within the Performance and Development Plan (PDP) outline professional development to be provided to the teacher.
A request to meet about teaching practice is not an improvement program, however, teachers should engage in such discussions professionally and take steps to address any areas of concern. Members should also ensure that they outline what, if any, professional learning they may require. It is good practice for teachers whose supervisor has initiated a conversation about specifi c concerns with their teaching practice, to contact their Organiser or Federation’s Professional Support section to obtain advice.
Teachers should take any requests to meet more formally to discuss teaching practice seriously, and it is advisable to take a support person to any meeting of this nature.
In a discussion of this type, a teacher should expect to be informed what standard/s they are not meeting and be provided with specifi c examples that demonstrate why this is not the case. A teacher can also expect to be provided with a clear draft plan of how they will be supported and how they will be able to demonstrate they are meeting the standard/s.
Noting this meeting may be the fi rst time the matters are more formally being brought to their attention, it is reasonable for a teacher to request time to consider what has been raised and provide written feedback. Teachers can, and should, play an active role in these discussions. It is very important teachers take every opportunity to engage with this process to ensure their views on the nature of support are heard and recorded, either in the minutes or written feedback to the matters raised.
Any plan for support should include opportunities for the teacher to engage in related professional learning, to observe the work of other teachers in contexts that are relevant, and for meaningful feedback to be provided from observations of lessons, planning or documentation. There is no fi xed timeframe for individualised support and if there is suffi cient development being demonstrated the process can, and should, continue beyond the initial planned period until the standrads are being met.
It is only in circumstances where teachers do not show suffi cient development that a formal Teacher Improvement Program will commence. For this reason, teachers are strongly advised to seek advice from Federation’s Professional Support section when engaged in a period of individual support.