Teacher professional development (PD) is arguably the most important investment a school can make in improving everything from test scores to student engagement to combating bullying or supporting at-risk populations. Ironically, it’s also one of the most difficult areas to measure return on investment (ROI) because of how famously slow the education sector changes. Sometimes it can feel like making change is the equivalent of maneuvering a battleship!
Many teachers struggle with PD that can be sporadic and unrelated to their growth, causing poor engagement. Administrators lament the slow speed of change and teachers do not effectively apply their learnings for poor results. Are we seeing any parallels to the classroom yet?
So, let’s take a look at current practices in how professional development is run and how it stacks up to best practice in teaching.
If your PD looks nothing like the left-hand column above, I am excited for you and your staff! For the rest of us, we need to look at why proper professional growth plans seem so far fetched.
- To what degree is PD based on the interests and needs of staff members?
- How closely does pacing and time allotment for actives reflect best practice around engagement and focus?
- Are teachers challenged to grow as individual learners during professional development or is attendance enough?
- What kinds of follow-up are done after professional development sessions to support the development of new skills?
Your most valuable assets are the professional skills and adaptability of your teachers. An agile school, where teachers embrace and excel with training, is ready for any challenge and demand next year holds. You have an amazing faculty with a diverse array of skills and experience. When it comes professional development, don’t shy away from setting a good example of best practice!