Advice for Ontario Teachers Perfomance Appraisal

TPAs - My Story

I was lucky. When TPAs were first legislated in Ontario, I had a good relationship with my principal. He approached me and asked if we could learn about it together. The experience was one of the highlights of my career. I always looked forward to my TPA which is why it pains me that in the last few years young teachers have been extremely and unnecessarily stressed about the process. Unfortunately most teachers see it as a lot of work. When I asked deeper questions I began to realize that administrators were downloading their responsibility and work to the individual teacher. That is wrong.

In the TPA manual, there are only 14 references to “teacher must” and that includes both new and experienced teacher references. If you search for “principal must”, well, that appears 43 times.

In the case of both new and experienced teachers, the principal must collect evidence to support his or her appraisal of the teacher’s performance. This evidence must be either described in the summative report or attached as supporting documentation.

It does not say the teacher must submit evidence of competency, you cannot assess yourself. The administator must collect the evidence through observation and discussions.

The only documentation provided by the teacher is the Annual Learning Plan and the lesson plan for the observation. To be collegial, a course outline, unit outline and how the lesson will be evaluated could be provided. None of these should be any extra work for the teacher. If the evaluation for the current unit has not been set, a discussion of that evaluation should happen in the post-observation meeting.

The admin must comment on all 16 competencies and I’m sure some may find it hard to “concentrate” for the 75 minute observation class, but it is their job to comment on all of them, not the teachers. If they don’t see it in your teaching you should discuss it at the post observation meeting. You do not need to provide them with anything.

The admin cannot threaten you with an unsatisfactory if you do not hand in a binder of evidence. Call your federation/association/union rep to grieve this.

The following pages in this site contain excerpts from the Ministry’s TPA manual along with my comments about the experiences I had as a secondary teacher.