One of the major components of the T-TESS appraisal system is a formal observation along with a pre- and post- conference with your appraiser.
The required pre-conference with your appraiser is a big departure from PDAS that did not mandate one. The addition of the pre-conference is a great way to share where you are with your classes with your administrator, discuss your lesson cycle, and gather information from your appraiser on what they look for in evaluations.
The pre-conference should be a discussion of the planning that goes into the lesson cycle you teach. The information gathered in the pre-conference is used by the administrator to help score the Planning Domain Dimensions 1-4. You can find the T-TESS Rubric along with the Planning Domain Dimensions here.
Your appraiser has been trained in conducting pre-conferences. Part of that training was a review of sample conferencing questions. To get an idea of the types of questions your appraiser may ask and for what you should prepare for, look at Dimensions 1.1 through 1.4.
The observation follows the pre-conference. The observation can be unannounced and does not have to be scheduled by date and time. The state has recommended two observations each year, one announced and one scheduled. They have left it to local school districts to decide how many and if they are scheduled or not. We are not aware of too many school districts that have decided to do more than one observation. You will need to check with your district’s local guidelines to determine if your observations are scheduled or unannounced.
The observation must be no less than 45 minutes in length unless you agree, in writing, to smaller segments that total at least 45 minutes. The observation should capture the entire lesson cycle from opening to closing.
UEA T-TESS Tip
Use the pre-conference time wisely. Be prepared to talk about what the preparation you use and the thought you place into planning your complete Lesson Cycle. Quiz your appraiser on what they want to see when they step in your room. This prepares you for when they eventually do.