Professional Development

by Jean Tower

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I admit that it surprises me when I hear people question the concept of professional development time for educators. I am not a big fan of the term – “professional development” – but it is at least better than the old “training” which somehow connotes some kind of obedience training for me.

From the news –

80 percent of districts have furloughed teachers and cut professional development funds

no additional money towards curriculum, district resources, or professional development for teachers on the new, higher standards

lack of specific funding for . . . providing more professional training for teachers

school districts will need capacity-building support for professional development

Continuous learning is an important part of just being human, but if your profession is to teach, then learning must take an even more important place in your life.  Part of what makes great teachers great is that they have never forgotten what it was like to learn about something for the first time, and in fact, they have never stopped learning. The best teachers keep current about content, tools, pedagogy, 21st century skills, digital citizenship, digital curriculum, assessment, regulations, understanding data, and much more. They learn from courses, workshops, their colleagues, twitter, blogs, webinars, face to face, online, and from their students – especially from their students. Educators learn so much from the students they teach that teaching should practically count as course work.

School districts should not be criticized for dedicating money to support teachers’ learning – they should be applauded for it.

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