Professional development for teachers today is often done "to us," not "by us." There is a lack of consistency in these top down PD initiatives, as different solutions to old problems are tried almost yearly, but never actually established or appropriately reflected upon by teachers and leaders. These "flavor of the month" initiatives are met with a lot of eye rolling by teachers, because they rarely speak directly to the needs we have in our classrooms. What's especially strange to me about this model is that it does not set up teachers to be the experts in our own field.
I imagine that in a transformed, more teacher-driven profession, most teachers would have a professional pathway that looks something like this--
1. Once teachers acquire the basics of teaching (or during that period), we
would identify areas of interest, such as designing assessments, teaching the skills
of collaboration to students, or connecting with communities around student learning, to name a
2. Teachers would then explore these areas deeply in their
own teaching, drawing on available research and methods and developing their own practices that work for their students in their school
3. We would also participate in the discourse around
these practices within the wider profession. Unfortunately, the discourse has often included only
professors and researchers, and to some degree, preservice or beginning teachers through course work, but not
experienced, practicing teachers!
4. Finally, they would find themselves in a position to
share their developments with other teachers, both in their school and outside. They could write, present at conferences, and
moved into various leadership roles.
The result would be a more deeply skilled, empowered teaching force, in which we are clearly the experts at what we do.
[image credit: careergirlnetwork.com]