Best Teacher-Generated Professional Development
This teacher generated professional development idea shouldn’t be seen as another bit of work, or overstepping summertime or holiday boundaries. It should be seen as a way of formalizing a few of the great ideas educators think, but never get organized, written, or shared. The most appropriate time to set a plan for collecting goals and ideas for the next year may be set up for it at the end-of-school-year. Thinking about teaching goals for the next year at the end of a completed school year, and during a summer respite, keeps those goals in context and gives creative ideas life. If it is an expected closing-out and summer, gathering activity with meaning, tangible seeds can be planted for thinking and best practices for the new school year—across school and district.
When educators arrive back to school after their well-deserved time off, with their energy recharged, a scheduled opening days workshop time should happen. This is where teachers can gather to share ideas they’ve thought and prepared, in a formal way, with mixed level and varied discipline groups. It’s is a great welcome back professional development beginning. Sharing with fellow educators before ideas and goals are added to an individual educator’s continued learning folder broadcasts those good ideas to colleagues, and gives teachers necessary feedback, as well as more ideas. It can be more than goal gathering, it can be the incubation of ideas that never would have been hatched otherwise.
There’s no reason the best ideas teachers think shouldn’t be part of a formal collection of good ideas for sharing and possible action in a school or district. Beyond being goal starters in an educator’s folder, reflection to action ideas offer an opening days professional development activity, where faculty from across the district can interact with varied levels of curriculum departments and disciplines beyond the usual meet and greet ceremonies. Imagine the in-district professional development presentations that could be born out of these beginning meetings, as well as the super star educators, who will get some very overdue district attention. At the very least, try some formalized summertime thinking with your faculty, followed by a useful professional development activity, at the beginning of the new school year, for setting new classroom, school, and district goals, as well as innovating a new approach to collaboration across the grades.