Administrators: Give the Gift of Choice
PD – Please Let the Teachers Choose!
“Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks.” Herder
While attending the AMLE conference, I was immediately met with a synergy in the air. It was a familiar feeling, one that always makes me proud to be a teacher. The electricity was created by the thousands of teachers who moved mountains in order to immerse themselves in two days of priceless professional development.
Before leaving their classrooms, lesson plans were created and noted with details for the specific needs of students on their roster. Funds were secured for registration fees and travel expenses; many teachers paid their own way to not be denied their fill up of fuel needed to ignite and extend their powers of innovation for their students. The attendees were not disappointed!
Since the majority of the breakout sessions were conducted by middle level teachers currently teaching and responding to all that is new in the educational landscape, attendees were able to walk away with practices and strategies to implement upon their return to their classrooms.
Between sessions, teachers were engaged in sharing what was learned during their session and passed on contacts for the speaker to those who were busy attending other presentations. Sessions at 8:00 in the morning were filled and presentations were still packed at 3:00. One thing I have learned about teachers, they understand that time is valuable and want to make the most of their professional development experience, therefore they choose to attend all that is humanly possible.
I am motivated to write this article because of a growing concern. Sadly, in many districts, teachers are denied the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences outside of their district. Instead, they are supplied job embedded professional development to fill the void. This type of professional development is usually created and made available to support building initiatives. Therefore, it is not professional development, but rather an extended faculty meeting.
In the publication, Why Professional Development Matters by Hayes Mizell states:
“Those responsible for organizing professional development often do so in ways that alienate rather than energize and assist educators. Those organizing the professional development may not be clear about specific improvements in educator and student performance that should result, or may not carefully determine what steps will lead to the desired performance levels. In addition, educators often complain that they are required to participate in professional development that does not address the real challenges they face in their schools and classrooms. They resent “one-size-fits-all” professional development that targets large numbers of educators from very different schools and classrooms who have students with different needs. Also, the professional development may not consider educators’ varying levels of motivation, interest, knowledge, and skill.”
Just like their students, teachers have differing needs. As a practitioner, it is imperative for teachers to be able to choose professional development addressing their needs. Attending professional development initiated by the teacher results in solutions to the daily challenges they face and leads to innovative instruction for their students. Not to mention, the network of support that is formed with the best and the brightest educators and experts in the field.
In a couple of months, during the longest, shortest month during a school year, middle level teachers, administrators and pre-service teachers have an opportunity to experience an invaluable conference. The annual Ohio Middle Level Association State Conference will be held February 20th and 21st at the Easton Hilton in Columbus.
OMLA is proud to present Mr. Rick Wormeli as the keynote speaker for both days. Rick is a National Board Certified Teacher, the author of six books in the teaching field, and an internationally known speaker on middle-level education, classroom assessment, innovation, and teacher professionalism. Besides having the opportunity to hear Rick deliver two keynote presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from over 80 breakout sessions delivered by the best and the brightest educators and administrators from Ohio. These sessions speak to middle level educators and administrators because they offer best practices and strategies that support today’s ever changing landscape in middle level education. In addition, Mr. Jack Berckemeyer will be a featured speaker for pre-service teachers attending the conference. His insights to the mind of the middle level student will provide future teachers with information most don’t receive until they experience their first years of teaching.
Please visit our website (www.ohiomla.org) to get further details concerning the conference and registration.
If you are in a position to effect the professional development opportunities for a teacher or district, please give them the gift that will give all year long – the opportunity to attend a workshop or conference of their choice that meets their needs as well as inspires and ignites the sparks within the teacher’s soul . Of course, my hope is that our paths will cross in the halls of the OMLA conference, where the synergy will be high and the educational conversations will be rich!
There are currently no events to display.