Why then should we renew your contract?
Give me lots of reasons why we should do so.
It may sound obvious, but we hired you in good faith. You interviewed well and seemed enthusiastic about teaching here at St. Swithins.Your transcripts and references were sound and everything checked out. Consequently we had great expectations.
For the most part you have not let us down. Your lesson plans are well thought out. You present the material in an engaging manner. You incorporate technology into your teaching effortlessly and effectively. Your classroom management and communication skills are very good. We particularly like the way in which your students respond to you and the subject. You are easy to understand even when explaining material which is complex. You have a high helpfulness quotient. That's so important when students have questions or need a point in the lesson retaught. Students must always feel that they can ask for help without any judgment being made. Your assignments make sense, have a stated purpose and are clearly laid out.
When you started with us, you had a tendency to be tough with the grading. But once you understood our standards and what we are trying to accomplish, you sorted that out. What we particularly like is that you have quickly established a reputation for fairness and listening to your students.
As you can see in the mini-evaluation above, schools look for specific things in your teaching and classroom manner. It frankly all boils down to whether your students feel inspired and happy around you. You are their teacher and guide but not their friend. You have to listen and mentor them, but not over-manipulate or interfere. Children learn by example. Be the best example you can be.
Within that framework it is extremely important for you in the first year of your contract to learn how to fit in with the school's style and mission as best you can. Don't be afraid to ask your administrator how you are doing and what you can do to improve your effectiveness as a teacher. Then be sure to act on those recommendations. Implicit or explicit.
So very important to take the initiative whenever and wherever you can to show that you are eager, enthusiastic and willing to help in any way you can. Of course, if you are asked to take on a responsibility such as supervising an extracurricular activity or coaching an intramural sport, agree to do so enthusiastically and eagerly. In your first year or so be savvy enough to test the waters if you will. What do I mean? If, for example, you see a need for an activity which is not currently offered, make some discreet inquiries to find out why somebody before hadn't already thought of that activity. There's usually a good reason why that is. Once you have determined that an idea is worth pursuing, then pitch it to a senior member of staff. Even better if you can get her to believe it was her idea. That way any negative criticism will be shared at the worst and deflected at best.
Finally, work hard. Nobody likes a lazy colleague. Goofing off now and then is perfectly acceptable. But the overall impression you need to project in your public life is that of an earnest, hard-working professional. Students will respond positively to that.
Prove your value
You have line after line of superb accomplishments in your curriculum vita. Show the school that you are eager to share your experience and talents with your students and the larger school community. If you studied abroad as a Fulbright or Rhodes scholar, sharing your experiences through slides, Powerpoint and panel discussions will inspire students to want to shoot for the stars too. You did it. They can do it too. Schools appreciate that kind of value-add. If you are a curriculum specialist, you can provide invaluable guidance and input on the all-important academic side of things.
Give the impression that you love what you are doing and that you are a keeper. Then you can be assured that your contract renewal process will be concluded successfully.