Professional Development Means Developing as a Professional.


As I look back on my 16 years in education, I’ve seen many changes.

My hairline.

My age.You Have to Change and You Have to Improve.

My weight.

My paycheck.

All have gotten bigger (I’ve notice there’s a lot more bad than good).

The biggest change deals with expectations.

There’s ever increasing pressure from the state and federal government to improve student achievement.

And this attitude shows no sign of slowing down.

One day, I will retire (I hope… I hope… I hope) and at that time it’s likely I will barely recognize public education.

It will be a shell of its former self.  Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a different way (it’s a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation).

One of the changes within this big change is the way educators approach professional development.

When I started out as a teacher, professional development was almost an afterthought.

It was something you did, but not something you took seriously.

It was a day off from school and if you learned anything at the meeting… great.  And if you didn’t learn anything… great.

It was win-win because of the day out of school.

Did I mention you didn’t have to go to school on this day?

To summarize, you got out of it what you put into it.

Which in far too many cases wasn’t much.

A decade later, quality professional development is a key component of a successful school district.

Curriculum, special education, and technology are constantly changing.  In 2011, we need teachers and administrators to change with them.

This takes professional development and lots of it (and money… never forget money).

I used to encourage new teachers to ask about benefits when they interviewed.

Now I tell them to ask about ongoing professional development opportunities.

I guess when you think about it, these are benefits.

For the teacher.

For the school.

And most importantly, for the students.

This blog was written for VIA. The only quarterly eZine for administrators, teachers and advocates of arts integration! VIA provides research, resources and articles on arts integration that are vital to every program’s success.


4 Responses to “Professional Development Means Developing as a Professional.”

  1. mweisburgh
    on Mar 11th, 2011
    @ 2:11 pm

    We’re working with School Improvement Network to put on a Summit in July on how to use PD to transform student achievement. We’ll looking for presenters who have implement successful solutions.

    Look at and click on “Request for Presenters”

  2. Jay Childs
    on Mar 11th, 2011
    @ 2:50 pm

    I have come to the conclusion that I will never know enough to be satisfied. Isn’t that what life-long learning is about? How else can we model this for the kids? Can we talk to them excitedly about the new technology, brain science, learning models, that we are about to learn while they’re at home? If we let them in on the learning process, could they become collaborators and colleagues as well as pupils?

  3. Alex Villasenor
    on Mar 12th, 2011
    @ 9:24 am

    hi there … yes, i totally agree. when i first entered the teaching profession (12 years ago), i saw PD as mostly a way to get out of being in the classroom and a time to mingle with other teachers. now, i see my PD sessions as rewarding and a time to really grow as a teacher by learning some new ways to improve my teaching, although they are sometimes exhausting. my attitude has changed about them too, which, of course, makes a huge difference. if anything, PD time gives me time to just learn and reflect on my career, and this has been the most important part of my growth as a teacher because I take it more seriously now.

  4. New York Jewish Schools
    on Mar 13th, 2011
    @ 12:59 am

    It’s sometimes less money and more quality assurance, personality testing, and continued education. I feel that if a free continued education program was offered with many teaching titles, the materials would maintain modern standards, and would constantly be improved upon.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.