When I started calling teaching experts a couple of months ago to ask them how they thought the financial crunch in schools would affect teacher professional development, I was surprised by their responses: On the whole, they sounded positive. It wasn’t that they thought staff development programs would somehow be exempt from cuts. Rather, they suggested that a heightened attention to the bottom line could bring focus and ingenuity to teacher-learning offerings—qualities that many educators would agree are often lacking.
In putting together this issue of the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook, we tried to focus on this message of opportunity-within-change. In our lead feature story, we look at how teacher professional development can be transformed through fresh and potentially less costly approaches.
Also in features, we talk to a senior teacher at a Florida elementary school known for its inventive and democratic culture of teacher learning, and we get advice from educators who’ve advanced their professional learning (and energized their careers) through grant programs.
In From the Field, meanwhile, we highlight teacher leaders’ own ideas for effective professional development that won’t break the bank. Some of their recommendations may surprise you.
As always, our News and Notes section tracks the latest ideas and trends in teacher professional development, including a provocative finding on how teachers’ time is spent differently in the U.S. than in some high-achieving European and Asian countries.
Everyone is looking to spend money more wisely these days. We hope you find the ideas and resources in this issue of the Sourcebook helpful and inspiring as you seek to invigorate teacher learning in these challenging economic times.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2009 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook