The Best Staff Development Is In The School

I believe Alan Blankstein states it best when he said the “answer is in the room”.  Teachers are exposed to so many different experiences. It’s like 7 degrees of inspiration teachers edition. As teachers, many are getting inspired through books or success stories they have heard from other districts.  Instead of leaving these to be isolated incidents or inspirations, these events should be celebrated and expanded upon.

We learn best when we are teaching, discussing, contributing and building together.  It is time, that we as educators build a collaborative environment not only for our students but also for our teachers to communicate both within and outside of the classroom. We need to foster an environment that states that it is ok if I don’t have all the answers, but I know where to go to find that information. This will foster greater collaboration and most importantly we will be teaching our students to work collaboratively by modeling this behavior for them.

If we allow our schools to use the greatest resource- our teachers, what we will see is inspiration, in all types of learning.  It will continue to build our teacher’s leaders and let’s use technology wisely.  So many great PD opportunities are found in webinars, however, take the impersonal part of it away and do it as grade level teams, etc.  This will allow training to occur but also for meaningful conversation to be able to take place and ideas implemented immediately.  If you need more inspiration, Travis Allen states “compliment wisdom and experience with a fresh perspective”.

Ways that this could be put into practice immediately:

  • Staff book studies.  Have groups of teachers do book studies and share these findings at general staff meetings.
  • Seek and find.  Determine who are your experts or comfortable with certain topics and ask them to share their knowledge.
  • Solution walls.  In a common area such as the teacher’s lounge, teachers can post “with list” or need help posts.  Teachers can be encouraged to participate and help each other.
  • Social Media.  Highlighting or showcasing the great things that are happening in classrooms could help spread the news of “hidden gems” and potentially inspire others in your building.
  • Parent University: Allowing teachers to showcase their skills and teach parents about key topics and or skills will also allow teachers to showcase their knowledge.
  • Blurring the digital with the physical.  Use webinar knowledge but also make it more personal by doing training together as a team.


Supporting Premise –

III.k The voice of teachers should be respected, particularly what they have to say about student performance, curriculum development, and program evaluations.

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