Professional Development

Avoid Learning Community Burnout

March 12, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Teacher professional learning communities are often launched with great excitement and initiative only to lose steam due to time constraints and lack of direction. Anne Jolly, author of A Facilitator’s Guide to Professional Learning Teams, offers these tips to help teachers reinvigorate and sustain learning teams:

GET A FIRM HANDLE ON YOUR TEAM’S PURPOSE and revisit it frequently. Your team needs a clear roadmap and destination if you plan to arrive somewhere.

BUILD IN OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUCCESS. Set short term, doable benchmarks that your team can achieve. Frequently ask yourselves, “What have we accomplished as a result of this collaborative venture?” Look for ways teachers have changed and students have changed.

KEEP NEGATIVE ENERGY AT BAY. Gain consensus on meeting rules and be sure one of them reads, “We will be positive during our meeting!” Call attention to that rule at the beginning of each meeting to suppress negativity that can drag the team down.

RELAX AND EXPERIMENT. Give yourselves permission to try new teaching strategies and be unsuccessful. (Oddly, we often learn much more from our failures than from our successes.) Make “It’s OK!” cards for all team members to signify that it’s alright not to succeed at first, as long as you keep working.

DEVELOP A CONCRETE PRODUCT that demonstrates what your team is accomplishing. Create a rubric, matrix, lesson plan, or a video of team members using a particular strategy the team is working on. Share it school-wide.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND REFLECT. At the end of each meeting, ask yourselves, “What did we accomplish with today’s meeting?” If team members can’t answer that, then rethink what’s happening at the meetings. Then decide, “What do we want to accomplish at the next meeting?”

ALWAYS MAKE A DECISION AS A TEAM before leaving the meeting. Even if the decision is to not use a particular strategy you’re considering, you’ve at least made a decision. If team members leave without making a decision of some sort, the meeting will not seem as valuable.

ROTATE RESPONSIBILITIES TO AVOID MEMBER BURNOUT. Give team members a chance to experience a variety of roles and perspectives.

Source: teachermagazine.org.
A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2008 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook as Avoid Learning Community Burnout

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Professional Development Spotlight Spotlight on Professional Development
This Spotlight will empower you with insights and advice for turning challenges into opportunities for professional development, and more.
Professional Development Opinion How Video Has Improved Instructional Coaching
Letting teachers see inside each other’s classrooms and practices has helped teacher development and school culture.
Sharon Boothe
3 min read
Professional Development Principal Prep and PD: What Works and What's Being Left Out
Decades of research has clarified what effective principals need to know and where training programs succeed or lag.
6 min read
Principal Vernicka Rolle-Murray leads students to classrooms after breakfast, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, during the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Principal Vernicka Rolle-Murray leads students to classrooms after breakfast on the first day of classes at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla., in 2021.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Professional Development Opinion How to Build Your Own Professional Development
The authors of a self-directed learning guide for educators of multilingual learners talk about how teachers can hone their craft.
9 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty