As a media specialist, the evaluation instrument can be daunting. It’s very long, dense and sometimes hard for administrators to understand. In the past, I feel like much of my evaluation conferencing has revolved around me explaining the standards/elements and breaking down what they look like for the person who observed me.
After my first year as a librarian, I learned that if I wanted to have better evaluations, I needed to make the process more user friendly for my administrators. Much of what we do as media specialists is behind the scenes and can’t be observed by following us around for 45 minutes at a time. It’s important to collect artifacts of what we do everyday. However, collecting evidence is only one part of making the evaluation process easier – we must also curate it into an easy to use format for principals and assistant principals.
To do this, I have kept a professional portfolio each year, for the last 7 years, showcasing my work with teachers, students and my extended PLN. I’ve used multiple platforms to organize and present this portfolio, including Google Sites and Weebly. I generally create a page for each major standard (1-5) with the elements (a, b, c, etc.) listed on each respective page. Then I post entries for each artifact I collect during the school year on the page(s) for the standard(s) it represents. Many of my artifacts are repeated throughout as they fall into more than one category.
Over the years, my portfolio system has proven extremely helpful for administrators. I can share the link with them at the beginning of the school year and they can follow it all year as I update it frequently. Then, when I sit down for an observation or evaluation conference, the administrator feels more prepared to discuss my strengths and areas for growth.
I recently sat down with one of my Assistant Principals and had my summative evaluation for this school year. She thanked me profusely for my portfolio site, commenting that it helped her to keep track of all that I do. It felt good to know that I had some control over my evaluation, since much of what is on the rubric can’t be seen in a 45 minute visit to the library while I’m co-teaching a class or running programming. As she and I talked, I shared with her an idea I had to make better use of my portfolio idea – a way to make it less work on me and geared more toward reflection and sharing. Next year, instead of having a separate portfolio site where I house evidence and artifacts of meeting my standards, I am going to use this blog!
I have created categories for each standard (1-5) and will simply use the blog to post and reflect on what I’m doing in my work with students, teachers and outside of the building. For each post, I can easily include pictures and videos. I will then mark the post with the appropriate category (Standard 1, 2, 3, etc.) so that when my administrator is working on an evaluation, she can search my blog using the standard she is looking for and pull a curated list of all of the posts that feature work meeting that standard. Up to now, I have been posting on both my portfolio site and then reposting on my blog, so this new system will mean I only have to post once, but I still get the same effect.
I’m so interested in how other media specialists curate and share what they’re doing with their administrators! I’d love to hear from you if you have great ideas on this!