11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 19, 2012 6:35 AM by Bonnie Feather

    What would make you a better teacher?

    Bonnie Feather

      What kind of professional development would truly make you a better teacher?

       

      Motivational?  Technology?  Classroom management? PBA?  Assessment practices?   Content in math or science, engineering or art... What?

       

      Now, think about other educators with whom you work...What sort of professional development would make them better teachers?  What sort of PD would they most likely take in to their practice and implement in a way that would make them better educators?

       

      And lastly, do you perceive a need for Professional Development of the administrators in your school or district?  Is it important for them to have PD as well?  How does PD for teachers interconnect with the need for PD for administrators?

       

      These are not rhetorical questions.  I have an opportunity to make a positive difference.  I am really seeking your opinions based on your experience.

       

      Thank you for reflecting on these questions and responding.

       

      ~Bonnie

        • Re: What would make you a better teacher?
          erroth

          My vote for PD goes toward:

           

          Project Based Learning

          Integrating math and science

          Improving efficiency in the classroom (teacher and student efficiency)/organizing the classroom

          Working with autistic and other special needs students (inclusion)

          Integrating technology into the curriculum

           

          I'm sure I'll think of more.

          • Re: What would make you a better teacher?
            holmesg

            I will start with administrators.  I think it is important to provide professional development to administrators to show them what technology integration in the classroom looks like.  Some administrators see projecting a powerpoint on a smartboard as technology integration.  Secondly I think it would be helpful to provide professional development to teachers on how to intergrate other subject areas into their content.  For example if I am teaching soil in science, I might share regions (geography) where particular soil types can be found or the percentages (math) of the different types found in a region, what plant types grow well in the region, etc.

              • Re: What would make you a better teacher?

                Gail ~ I think if administrators had more professional development in technology integration they could offer suggestions and guide new teachers and veteran teachers. So often after a teacher has attended professional development they are asked to use it in the classroom without time to practice and revamp lessons to include the technology.  We need more collaboration with our peers and time to use the technology so our lessons can come alive to the students.

                • Re: What would make you a better teacher?
                  Bonnie Feather

                  I am so "with" you both on that score!  While I realize that administrators are very busy, I also believe they need PD on tech integration so they will know what they are looking for when they do walk-throughs and other evaluations. 

                   

                  I recently had to argue with a principal on this score!  I scheduled to do a PD session on their SmartNotebook software (I am the assoc superintendent at the district he works in) and he was upset- said the teachers used their boards every day.  I had to tell him that I knew for a fact that only one of them had the software installed, so though they might be projecting images on the boards, they were not using the software.

                   

                  We completed the PD, I installed the software on all the computers, and now to get extra pay, each of the teachers must turn in to me a lesson built with the software.  It's a start, but that principal didn't even know what he should be asking for from the teachers!

                   

                  And, Gail- you are certainly right about the need for integration in all areas, and the need to support teachers in this area.

                   

                  ~Bonnie

                  • Re: What would make you a better teacher?
                    erroth

                    I agree, and in addition to PD on how teachers can integrate other subjects, I would suggest PD on how teachers who work together can support each other's content. For example, I am doing a Properties of Matter Unit with my fourth-graders and the reading and writing teachers are assisting through extension board activities and related readings.

                  • Re: What would make you a better teacher?

                    I agree that PD is great, but it does no good if the teachers aren't allowed to develop the material.  I feel like I leave PD and constantly shove it to the side because there is no time to develop it into something workable.  So, more time to work on the curriculum, units, lessons that are taken away from things like PD would make me a better teacher!!

                      • Re: What would make you a better teacher?

                        I agree with both of you.  Professional Development is a great thing, but if there is no time to actually make use of what you have learned then it is not worthwhile!

                        • Re: What would make you a better teacher?
                          Bonnie Feather

                          Thank you for posting!  I hear you referring to two possible issues in your post, Molly-

                          1. Administration does not always support your implementation of new ideas from PD
                          2. Teachers don't have time to followup with PD that is provided, and it takes time to develop ways to implement new techniques and ideas.

                           

                          Do others have examples of ways that educators have found to confront either issue?  Please share!

                           

                          ~Bonnie

                            • Re: What would make you a better teacher?

                              I know time is the big factor.  So many teachers have created things and have been willing to share that I wish more teachers would take advantage of what is available to them.  I think we're going to have to resolve ourselves to sharing and taking if teachers are going to survive the monumental amount of change that is going on in education right now.  You can't do it ALL tomorrow so start small and build on what you have and use all resources available.

                          • Re: What would make you a better teacher?

                            Personally, I would be looking for PD in the areas of technology and management techniques for classroom technology. 

                             

                            Thinking about my staff, I would recommend PD in managing behavior and expectations when using technology in the classroom.  I would also recommend planning and teaching with technology.  The list could go on for a long time.  I have found though, that PD is only as good as the time allowed to teachers to implement what they have learned.  Allowing teachers the time to collaborate in a PLC, where they can brainstorm and discuss ways to utilize what they have learned.

                             

                            Administrators also need PD.  The same way that teachers need to adapt their teaching techniques to incorporate technology, Administrators must also adapt their leadership to facilitate the use of technology and 21st century teaching techniques in their buildings.  If administrators continue to approach education as they always have, no amount of PD for teachers will make a difference.

                              • Re: What would make you a better teacher?
                                Bonnie Feather

                                What a great contribution to the discussion, Brent! I'm going to get busy preparing some sessions on planning and teaching with technology & managing behavior and expectations when using technology in the classroom.  I do think that is often left out.

                                 

                                And speaking of left out of the process, everyone here in this discussion has noted that time for effective implementation is necessary.  As a career classroom teachers, I join that sentiment! 

                                 

                                Brent mentions PLCs as a way to provide time for effective support during the implementation stage.  I would like to expand on that a bit by saying that continued PD for all PLCs and cross-pollination of PLCs as well as further PD can be effective.  I believe peer coaching activities, whether formalized or not and general instructional coaching of teachers in an atmosphere of trust and positive reflection can be incredibly helpful!

                                 

                                Administrator PD- YES!  In the districts I work with, this seems to be most effective on an individual basis.  What models have others seen work?  I have been the "tech therapist" for several principals for several years.  It has enabled me to tailor the information and apps I show them to their level, and they have been able to schedule it in on a weekly basis, whereas it would be impossible to schedule weekly district-wide training for admins.  The principals have delighted in learning not only what to model for their staffs, but also ways to utilize tech within their buildings and their district so that they are becoming leaders. Additionally they have learned more about what they should be expecting from their teachers and what to look for in classrooms where technology has been placed. How do others feel about a coach for administrators?

                                 

                                I hope others will chime in here on this discussion!

                                 

                                ~Bonnie