Technology, collaboration, and new standards are changing the classroom at a rapid pace. Every teacher’s professional development must keep up
Like so many of us, I have been grateful throughout my life for the professionals I’ve needed to call upon for vital services and expert guidance. The surgeon who had years of residency and practice before treating me on her own. Or the lawyer, who was constantly staying abreast of federal and state regulations in order to offer me sound advice.
Similarly, students and parents rely on me every day. As teachers, we are entrusted with our nation’s children, and their futures, yet many of us find ourselves isolated in classrooms without the right training or support. Others find ourselves supported by just one or two afternoons of professional development per year. As we collectively elevate teaching so that it may sit comfortably alongside other highly respected and important professions, we must think carefully about how to provide higher-quality, effective continuing education for teaching.
The need for more practical and effective professional learning opportunities for teachers is especially important right now, with new academic standards being introduced and adapted in schools across the country. As a teacher leader who has had this conversation with teachers, administrators, policy makers, and parents, I recognize an important distinction to which we must pay attention. People outside the profession often want to see a greater sense of urgency about our work. Oftentimes, the desire for urgency looks more like drawing small circles around teachers through evaluations, ranking, and sorting. For a classroom teacher, though, this has the opposite effect. When I feel small, I don’t feel urgent. I feel scared and uncertain.…Read More