Professional Development: Is time on your side?

I have been fortunate to observe and work at x Middle School in Central Falls this semester.  I’ve had a chance to ask questions about curriculum, common core and how x Middle School, as a charter school, faces the fear of getting shut down by RIDE every year.  What I found most interesting was that, although teachers are required to pull longer school days and work a full year, without summers off, the school’s schedule has provided endless opportunities for collaboration among the middle school teachers that make up X Middle School.  Because the teachers worked all summer, each team was able to sit down and align their content standards, common core and technology standards with one another to create a cohesive curriculum across content areas and standards.  While the humanities teacher enters the Progressive Era, the ELA teacher is covering a narrative about immigration told from the perspective of a teenage girl.

What teachers need is time to prepare, collaborate and develop their skills with teaching techniques, technology and the standards that bombard them.  When you have a school that supports this, even weaves it into the day for teachers, what you get in return is more effective teaching and learning.  At X Middle School I see a school that has embedded collaboration and professional development into their every day climate.  And what I see in the classroom is PBL, technology and a cross content curriculum.  Every Friday the teachers gather in the gymnasium for professional development.  Every Friday, there is mandatory professional development and it’s not after school hours.  It is within the school day.

Some day, when I interview for a position, I’ll be interviewing the school, just as they are interviewing me.  I’ll be looking for a school that believes in these very components and supports the teachers in their growth as professionals.

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3 thoughts on “Professional Development: Is time on your side?

  1. Yes, as we have noted in class, time for collaboration is one of the distinguishing features of nations with high performing schools. Time if provided for sharing and improving lessons as well as using protocol to examine student work.

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  2. In the absence of much needed professional development within the school day, there is always the creation of a personal learning network. Hopefully one day more schools will see the important need for both.

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  3. I loved your line about someday interviewing the school just as you are being interviewed for a position. I have never held a teaching position, but I can only imagine how frustrating it is to be giving your all for your students much past 3 o’clock and not being repaid by the system for your extra efforts. I think that schools working to incorporate both PD and prep time during the school day is what is going to eventually lead to happier teachers who work more productively and thus, students who are gaining more from these great teachers with each passing day. Although I think there is a certain amount of additional work teachers must put in for their classroom off the clock, I also think that too much of this is expected at many schools. I agree with your push for more integrated PD, awesome ideas!

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