In education we seem to have come to a general consensus that one size does not fit all for students, thus we as educators encourage differentiation and basing lessons to include multiple intelligence models. Why then are we so stuck on the fact that all teachers need to learn the same way?
Professional development needs to engaging and relevant. One thing I have been hearing frequently and believe it is one of the most dangerous things to hear no matter what profession we are in- “We have always done it this way”. That should not be the reasoning behind anything and especially not in relation to professional development. Training that teachers receive should be engaging and to the point. One of the most precious commodities for teachers are their time- so let’s value that and respect that when planning activities.
Choice- I believe that teachers need to be given a choice on what they receive training for. Have a variety of training opportunities available so that teachers can choose what they deem relevant and get something from training. Just like all individuals and students, teachers can be known to “tune out” if they don’t find something important to them. So thus training that is not a choice can be a waste of time.
How many times have teachers attended training and loved the content, but then never implement what they have learned in the classroom? It happens way more frequently than not. One of the root causes to this is the fact that there is no support or what I call safety net available after the training. When teachers feel that they either have access to resources or even a person to refer to with questions that seems to make a greater impact to implementation than anything else. Have options here for teachers in a variety of format will certainly make sure that all learning styles are met and can cut down on the frustration when trying to implement new technologies.
Just like the saying “One size does not fit all” applies to students it also applies to teachers. There are also a multitude of ways to try to adjust to meet the needs of teachers. Neila Conners says it best with “If you don’t feed the teachers, they eat the students” It is important to take care of our teachers who in turn will take care of their students!
Thank you to all our teachers in Mansfield ISD, Texas for all that you do for our kids.