On Sunday nights at 8 pm most of the time you can find me on Twitter participating in the #txeduchat. I always look forward to this Twitter Chat because I get to share ideas with like minded educators. Last night’s chat was particularly interesting because the topic was All Things Professional Development. Professional development or professional learning or whatever you want to call it is a topic that will most likely elicit different view points. As an experienced teachers I sometimes dread “professional development” because most of the time it is confirmation of the the presenter’s lack of experience or shallow knowledge base of the subject matter that is supposed to be covered.
I have attended many professional development sessions that have ranged from classroom management, project based learning, and etc. I can truly say that I got what I needed from these sessions when I first became a teacher up to about my 4th year of teaching. Most of the professional development sessions after my fifth year of teaching were basically regurgitated the information that was presented at the beginning of my teaching career. I’m sure most administrators or district personnel “think” that they are meeting the professional development needs of the teachers at their respective campus’ and districts. This could not be further from the truth. Most teachers loathe attending mandatory professional development such as PLCs not because they don’t want to learn but because most of the time it’s a total waste of time. The information is either irrelevant, repetitive, or just plain old boring.
I absolutely love the TAP model for job embedded professional learning because it follows the gradual release model for teaching. The gradual release model helps presents to show NOT tell. If administrators encourage teachers to plan more engaging lessons then why can’t administrators lead by example and plan engaging professional development for teachers? Engaging professional development includes:
- Alignment with campus or district goals
- Do more talk less
- Relevant information
I am a lifelong learner because I read professional material and I’m always looking for opportunities to collaborate with other educators. I’m the exception not the rule because once experienced teachers have shut down as it relates to professional development it is very difficult to get them to open up again. I believe that most teachers love to learn new things but how long do you expect them to keep showing up for professional development that irrelevant and doesn’t meet their immediate needs?