With the words “professional development” as part of my title, it immediately creates a picture in people’s minds about teaching teachers. What picture do you think of?
This week I sat in a meeting talking about training our district-wide lead teachers. We asked them to answer a survey and identify their needs, but it wasn’t enough because we don’t know how we are going to deliver the training. Now, anything I read about PD research speaks to job-embedded PD as the way to go. What does that mean for teachers?
- Should every classroom have two teachers? Does that automatically mean they collaborate? Does that mean while one is teaching, the other could be learning?
- Should all teachers be asked to attend training on a routine basis?
- Should there be a standardized test for all teachers?
- Should all principals inspire all teachers to believe failure is not an option?
- Should all teachers self-identify their needs?
- Do all teachers know enough about adult learning to choose their professional development options?
- Does the coaching model work for all teachers?
The more I brainstorm questions, the more I find them completely ridicoulous. Yet I find myself planning training for the programs that staff members want, not what they need. How do I know? Not all of our students are successful. What should the picture of professional development really look like?