Thursday, December 19, 2013

The improvement dilemma

99% of people want to improve, but the majority don't know how.  I think this is a major dilemma in education.  All teachers seek to get better, but our system doesn't allow for it.  How do we expect teachers to get better when a typical school only devotes three days of in-service for professional development.  In my experience these days have been disconnected from what teachers want and really need.  We are no different in Rugby, we have three in-service days and two of them are before the year starts.

We are taking major steps in embedding professional learning in our school system this year.  We are providing the TIME that is needed to ensure that all take part.  It isn't perfect and we are reevaluating it for improvement, but it's a start.  Here are some examples late startteacher led PD, and district class.

The longer I continue my career in school leadership the more I realize how important it is to build the capacity of ALL educators in the building.  If pockets of excellence exist, it creates a lottery system for kids.  Schooling becomes a game of luck for students and parents.  We as school leaders often tell our struggling, and average teachers that they need to get better.  We fail when we don't provide them the clear path of how to get better.  Our professional learning rarely addresses their needs.  

We are looking at transforming our system and creating something that provides choice, autonomy and allows the teacher to own their learning.  I would assume the goal of professional development is to transform the teacher and build their capacity.  I believe the only way that is possible is to turn the keys over to them and let them own their learning.  I believe we have to fix the structure before we can ask a teacher to devote more time outside the day for learning.  Right now your top performers will, and your strugglers to average teachers won't devote time outside of the contract. Therefore we continue to create a lottery system for students and parents.  It is about capacity building and we need provide a path for each individual teacher to get better.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post! I agree that job embedded is the way to go. For me, that means student work is always on the table before any PD begins. What learning is evident? What learning is missing? What are next steps? Then it's easy for teachers to focus on students and what needs to change to help them improve.