Why did you decide you wanted to try and be an assessor?
As I approach the conclusion of my career with the Department of Education, I wanted to return in focus to where I started: maximising the effectiveness of and recognition for high quality, professional classroom teachers.
What does it entail?
The technical aspects of the process entail:
For applicants who progress to Stage 2 of the assessment process involving a school site visit, it also will involve attendance to the applicant’s school for classroom observations, colleague discussions and an applicant interview followed by further collaboration with the fellow Assessor and report-writing.
What was it like and how many hours did it take?
The HAT & LT process was a very rewarding one for me personally, as it was such a strong focus on examining teacher professionalism. Like most roles in our state education system, it can be an ‘all-consuming’ role demanding nothing less than a full-time commitment.
What did you enjoy the most about it?
Collaboration – I gained the greatest reward (enjoyment) from the professional collaboration with other educators. This was at two levels: initially in working with fellow Assessors in Stage 1 assessments and decision-making and secondly, in conducting professional conversations with applicants and colleagues when completing site visits. The quality of teachers and school leaders working in our state school system never fails to impress me.
What was challenging about it?
Collaboration – genuine collaboration with colleagues is a demanding exercise that requires a variety of high-level qualities and skills such as intelligence, engagement, empathy, listening, thinking, summarising, negotiating and the like.
What have you gained from the role professionally?
I have gained a reinforcement (if any were needed) of my appreciation of the quality and professionalism of teachers working within our state education system and I hope I have contributed in some way to recognition for them.
I have also realised that the process for certifying Highly Accomplished Teachers and Lead Teachers has the capacity to lift the quality and professionalism of our teachers to an even higher level and as a ‘grass roots, bottom up’ process. Without exception, every applicant and colleague I spoke with was positive about the process (though acknowledging it was certainly hard work) and they indicated a growing knowledge of the significance of the Standards had led to their own increased professional self-awareness and sense of self-worth.
It is for this reason, I have no doubt that our system as a whole has a significant amount to gain from the full implementation of the HAT & LT certification process.
What is your advice to others who are thinking about doing it?
I would encourage those who believe they have the experience, skills and absolute commitment to the HAT & LT assessment process to positively consider being involved.