The law is concerned with the teacher (n). It is a teacher evaluation system; not a teaching evaluation system. Of course teaching (v) is one part of being a teacher (n). However, teaching is not the only criteria or characteristic being evaluated in the new teacher evaluation system.
My guess is that because we all had been hearing a lot about instruction and teaching and learning in the media, in reports, and in other publications, when we heard about the opportunity to put this new teacher evaluation system in place the terms got confused. I would say instructing and teaching are synonymous. Likewise instructor and teacher would be the same. But, instruction (the act of instructing or teaching) and teacher are not synonyms.
In fact, Charlotte Danielson is clear to make sure that followers of her model understand this from the beginning: “The framework for professional practice represents all aspects of a teacher’s responsibilities that are reflected in daily work.” She goes on, “The framework is comprehensive, referring not only to what occurs in the classroom, of course, but also to what happens outside the walls (p.14).” The things that happen outside the classroom walls are not necessarily instruction, although they are still part of what makes up a good teacher.
An analogy would be this: If I was asked to put together a comprehensive exercised program, but called the comprehensive exercise program “Yoga,” that would be confusing. Specially, once people signed up for “Yoga” and we were doing cardio work on the treadmill, swimming, strength conditioning using free weights, taking a diet/nutrition class, and doing yoga. For sure yoga is part of a comprehensive exercise program, but to call the comprehensive program Yoga is inaccurate. The accurate title would be Comprehensive Exercise Program. Then list all the elements it includes.
In our case, the accurate term for the state mandated SB 6696 Teacher Evaluation System, in my opinion, is Professional Practices Framework. It is not accurate to call any of the three pilot models Instructional Frameworks just because some of the elements are related to instruction. Each one, of course contains instruction, just like a comprehensive exercise program might contain yoga. However, it is not limited to instruction. As soon as the framework includes more than instruction, it is now something more than an instructional framework. Parent Communication is an important part of being a good teacher, but it is not instruction. Professional Collaboration is an important part of being a good teacher, but it is not instruction.
The figure below is for illustration purposes only. It is not intended to mirror the Washington State new teacher evaluation criteria. It is simply a picture of some general teacher elements that could be included in a teacher evaluation system and a professional practices framework that would reflect that.
An instructional framework (IF) has to do with instruction. A curriculum framework (CF) has to do with curriculum. An assessment framework (AF) has to do with assessment. A professional practices framework (PPF) has to do with teacher professional practices. And it is these professional practices that are being evaluated.
In my opinion, districts need to be selecting a professional practices framework that would guide their entire HRM system from recruitment, to induction, to mentoring, to professional growth, to rewards and recognition. Once the PPF is in place, the teacher (n) evaluation system should be negotiated and put in place. Once the PPF is in place, the district will still need to make sure it has Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment frameworks that guide the day-to-day work in the district.
Finally, because quality of instruction is one of the eight criteria that will be included in the teacher evaluation, there should be a cross-walk between the instructional framework and the professional practices framework. For example, we have a cross-walk between the STAR Classroom Observation Protocol and the Danielson’s framework: We don’t have them for the other frameworks yet; but will soon. My hope in clarifying these terms is that it will assist you with the important work of developing your new Teacher Evaluation System.