A Houston-based teacher and comedian has defined his career of the following quote.
“I am professionally developed!”
What he means by this statement is that he is qualified and trained to do the job that he has been said to do. Teachers consider professional development a waste of time. That’s a bold statement, so allow me to provide an example.
As a first year teacher, my first large professional development session was in January of the school year. Here I am, thinking that I’m about to learn a great mini things about my career, my subject area and a whole host of other different pedagogy‘s and ideologies. I was left largely disappointed. I was sent amongst my group of computer science peers to work on curriculum for a subject area that I had never even taught before. I reiterate, I have only been a teacher for five months.
Professional development is meant to guide the teachers into understanding and learning new and critical areas of growth that will allow them to transform the lives of their students. Yet yearly, it is regurgitating the same information. In one of the readings for this week, it was discussed that teachers don’t really take the evaluation system seriously. The evaluation system is rooted in Byous that does not reflect our every day classroom. Since I’m such an honest roll today, teachers put on a show when it is time for evaluation season. Isn’t because we don’t respect the system. It’s because the evaluation system does not take into account that our students are different and as teachers we are constantly adapting to the needs of all learners.
The standards for professional learning sounds good on paper, but their accountability in the real world or purely circumstantial. It’s like designing a lesson plan. On paper, The lesson plan is laid out in steps. Yet, factoring in the students progress through the lesson plan is also key. Meaning that adaptability must be a critical component of that lesson plan. Alternatively, the standard for professional learning to help us and understanding how we as teachers are critiqued. This allows us to see what is going through the minds of our appraisers as they are doing their duties in our classroom.
Overall, professional development must apply the same principles that teachers apply in the classroom. A rigid structure does not make anyone better.It just proves that we are good at following orders. Allowing for adaptability to focus on the crucial components and the overall why of the professional development is how you see a longer lasting change within teachers and their classrooms.
YouTube. (2012). A New Culture of Learning, Douglas Thomas at TEDxUFM. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM80GXlyX0U&list=PL7uTLRgYU8DnFAJKdtF2yHpul_oiCLUKb&index=21.
YouTube. (2015). Creating Significant Learning Environments (Csle), Dwayne Harapnuik at NetHowTo. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ-c7rz7eT4&list=PL7uTLRgYU8DnFAJKdtF2yHpul_oiCLUKb&index=22&t=12s.
YouTube. (2015). Dr. Tony Bates on Building Effective Learning Environments. YouTube. Dr. Tony Bates on Building Effective Learning Environments
Youtube. (2021). Learners Mindset How to reignite your learners mindset. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcHdU-IiLc0