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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET   INTRODUCTION   3 WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK My interest in this topic comes from several perspectives in my career as a teacher, union activist, administrator, teacher educator, organization develop- ment consultant, and coach. Over the years, I have had many professional con- versations about teacher skills with other educators, leaders, and researchers. Too often I hear that while supporting teachers is a good thing, evaluating them is too punitive. Teachers will simply “do what is right,” once they understand what needs to be done. I agree that teachers will try to do what’s right. I am also aware that the lack of a good system for teacher evaluation has created prob- lems in K–12 education. For example, ineffective teachers who did not receive proper evaluations and support prevented children from learning even close to what they were capable of learning (Sanders and Rivers 1996). I don’t want to replicate this condition in early childhood education. Addressing best practices in teacher evaluation and support is crucial in our efforts to improve education quality for children. Evaluation cannot be a forbidden word or a scary practice. In the child care field, turnover rate is very high, comparable to that of fast-​ food restaurants. In elementary education, one-​third of new teachers leave the profession within the first three years. At the same time, new people are attracted to the field every day, people with varying levels of skill and experience who need support to make their way in the profession. Fears of teacher evaluation and high attrition rates are symptoms of larger problems in early childhood education: inadequate systems of evaluation and support. These are problems I hope to help solve in this book. As a leader in education, you will find that you already have many of the skills and tools you need to effectively evaluate and support teachers. This is especially true if you have been a classroom teacher yourself. You already know how to assess and support children. The process will be similar when assessing and supporting the adults you serve. WHO THIS BOOK IS FOR Throughout the book, I use the term education leader to refer to any individual who has a role in evaluating and supporting teachers. Education leaders include child care center directors, program managers, and school principals, who serve as both supervisors and leaders. These leaders have the responsibility of hiring and firing teachers and, therefore, of evaluating and supporting them too. Edu­ cation leaders also include peer teachers with leadership, but no supervisory, COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL