Professional development is one strategy that principals can use to support teachers as they work to increase student achievement. The days of the sit-and-get professional development are fading. Teachers want to feel empowered and inspired, and there are a number of strategies principals can employ to meet teachers’ needs through professional development.
Supporting the Professional Development of Teachers
Principals should consider the following factors when determining the professional development of teachers:
Just as students have the option to take classes in person, online, or via a hybrid learning environment, so, too, should teachers. Like their students, teachers have different learning needs, and they should be empowered to choose what works best for them. Some states offer credit for taking part in online masterclasses, chats, or EdCamps, allowing teachers to earn credits for recertification.
Considering the current social distancing measures implemented across our nation, virtual professional development opportunities are ideal for teachers. With technology constantly evolving, it’s important that principals research and stay up-to-date with the various online delivery methods available. Principals should also look for and share professional development ideas with their teachers.
Sadlierhas a variety of free online Masterclasses that teachers and school leaders can attend ON DEMAND! Click on the images to learn more about each Masterclass and to register.
Twitter and Facebook Groups are online spaces that offers countless teacher-generated chats based on interest levels. Principals can start a private FB group for the teachers at their school.
EdCamps, considered by some to be the leading edge of professional development, are participant-driven professional learning experiences. EdCamps are created by educators and are held in various cities in every state.
EdCamps include some characteristics that teachers relate to very well. They are free and open to everyone. They are created by participants on the day. They are facilitated by anyone. They are relevant—participants find the session that best meets their needs. Perhaps most importantly, they are focused on teacher and student learning.
While EdCamps are generally offered at specific locations, they are promoted, sustained, and enhanced virtually, as well. Look for EdCamp hash tags to follow along online if you are unable to attend, or if you are a principal looking to host one yourself.
The benefits of nontraditional professional development include personalized learning, creating a network of learners, and teacher relevance. Cultivating culture happens by building relationships; additionally, professional development that allows teachers to learn from one another places positivity first. Teacher leaders are cultivated and honored in these new ways of approaching professional development.
Principals have many considerations to weigh when deciding on content, delivery, and outcomes of professional development. Principals can download this tip sheet to remind themselves of these considerations when determining the professional development of their teachers.