Today I am appealing to school districts who choose “canned programs” as professional development tools for their staff.
Please do the research before choosing an appropriate program for your early career educators!
As a teacher, I lived through many “Flavor of the Day” offerings with veiled lids barely keeping my eyes open. I have spent years with in-service programs that had no empirical data to prove they were working, but were hastily thrown together to grab grant funds or use them up.
As a nonprofit Executive Director, I can tell you that “flash in the pan” programs have no business in your professional development wheelhouse. The more you throw information at educators, the less they will retain. They will never accept it, chew it over, or own it.
Ask anyone who has taken the mandatory Hazardous Wastes and Procedures modules from the State of Michigan. How many teachers will take the time to put gloves on when a student has a bloody nose or there is vomit on the floor? Merely saying you have asked/answered program module questions does not mean they are retained. I think this is a lame way to expect a staff to learn but I understand the cheap efficiency of how this covers mandated outcomes.
I just don’t think you can enhance a teacher’s life with canned or computer driven modules. Education theory tells us that learning retention occurs in the AFFECTIVE brain.
People act from within. Practices are developed through ownership and experience. We may be able to tell early career teachers what to expect, but when the situation actually happens, do they have the mental file folder that takes them to the solution?
Four years ago, I began researching the troubling problem of attrition of teachers. From a personal standpoint, I must share that I was demoralized when I left after 34 years of teaching. The appreciation for years of experience was not considered with the same reverence as being a “tribal elder”. Instead, it was as if schools seemed to place less and less value on the people who navigate the world of education with years of workable procedures under their belts.
New teachers are often paired with teachers with longevity when they are interns. While this would seem to be a great match, what new teachers sometimes see is a tired and war weary educator.
Mentors don’t necessarily have to be the ones who have been there the longest but those that have successfully met and conquered the many possible road blocks …and are still passionate and excited to teach. They are still there.
Administrators take note! My studies have proven over and over again that experienced and passionate teachers are the most effective tools that education systems have to keep new teachers teaching. Palanca Leadership’s program: Be THAT Teacher is aware of this and have carefully crafted a program for early career educators to glean the very best knowledge from experienced and passionate mentors.
This is the program you want for your teachers! Canned programs, often hastily assembled, try to entice you with bells and whistles. These programs may cover an objective goal, but what are they really doing for the people you want to reach?
Be That TEACHER is the ace in the hole.
Trust me. I have been there. My goal is to honor the experience that the folks in the trenches offer while lifting up the passion of the early career educator. It is a beautiful dance to see and a real tribute to all who value education in this day and time.
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Thanks for listening.