A. Teachers already have their share of scrutiny, accountability and pressure regarding performance-related pay and review appraisals.

The new nationwide-adopted Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Professional Standards for Teachers, identify key areas and expectations of teachers across different career stages.

It can be a difficult experience if you are a teacher that has been identified as not meeting the AITSL teaching standards. 

The best thing to do is to see it as an opportunity to take steps to improve your professional knowledge, practice or engagement. 
If you have been formally identified as not meeting the criteria during a review process, it is important to firstly identify the specific professional standards you are not meeting and where you need to make improvements. 

For example, you may need to improve your classroom management in order to meet your performance review. That would come under professional practice standard four, which looks at learning environments. 

You are entitled to a clear understanding of what the reviewer currently observes about your teaching and future objectives. You must get your reviewer to explicitly state their recommendations which will allow you to have a framework to work on. This is the course of natural justice and underpins common workplace legislation and industrial laws. 

Once you have in writing what needs to be addressed, maintain your focus and energies on those recommendations. For example, to better manage challenging classroom behaviour you may need to implement individual behaviour management plans and refine your classroom routines.

Determine with your reviewer what satisfactory evidence will be required to meet the standards. For example, you may need to submit behaviour management plans, document meetings with parents or have a colleague observe your classroom management.

Ask the reviewer how they plan to support you to meet the standards. They have an obligation as your employer to assist you in this process.

The most important step is to document and provide evidence of your changes and your improved practice. Ensure these improvements are documented widely through colleague observations, teacher practice, team contributions or improved student outcomes. If you are given positive verbal feedback regarding the implementation of the agreed upon recommendations, follow it up in an email as further evidence. 

Document all conversations regarding your review in writing, preferably with a team leader or witness to support your attempts at improving teacher practice. Involve your union for extra guidance and support if needed.

It may seem like an awful lot of unnecessary work and stress if your credibility is challenged in this manner. It is important to take ownership of your future growth and performance and work to the recommendations for job stability, future promotions and the financial increment you deserve!