Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

Professional Development Should Serve Teachers’ Roles

January 26, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Scott Sterling’s Commentary on teacher burnout contains numerous useful ideas that are vital, but limited. There is a bigger picture, where teachers look inward, outward, horizontally, and vertically for the professional development that will keep them from burning out.

Teachers are members of five communities. Their professional development plans should be developed and fulfilled through these five roles.

1. As classroom leaders: Every year, before the end of the year, administrators should ask their teachers what PD they would like to complete the following year. A menu of choices might be offered, but engagement comes from the teachers.

2. As cohort or subject leaders: All teachers within a grade level in elementary school or a subject area in middle and high school should create a PD plan for their common interests. For example, all 4th grade teachers should create their own PD plan, as should all high school biology teachers.

3. As department leaders: All K-12 teachers within a subject should create a plan crossing grade levels. Elementary self-contained-classroom faculty wear three or four costumes in a day, but true cross-grade-level PD should be a focus at least once a year.

4. As school leaders: Common needs at the school level should not be ignored. Some training is mandated each year by the local board of education or the state, while other topics should come from internal assessments at individual schools.

5. As district leaders: Joining together for districtwide PD would enable educators to know what others in similar situations are doing across an entire district.

Burnout avoidance starts with a clear definition of a teacher’s role and function in a district. Some engagements are self-driven. Others are mutually created. Others are mandated. All should be known in advance of the following school year, properly funded, and aligned with curriculum needs, school objectives, and district goals.

Harry Stein

Adjunct Assistant Professor of History

Manhattan College

New York, N.Y.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 27, 2016 edition of Education Week as Professional Development Should Serve Teachers’ Roles

Events

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
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special 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

School & District Management Photos Six Years After Parkland Tragedy, Crews Demolish a Painful Reminder
The school building in Florida where a gunman killed 17 people is being pulled down. Victims' families have toured the site with lawmakers to push for change.
4 min read
Students, teachers, victims' families and passersby watch, Friday, June 14, 2024, as crews start the demolition of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building where 17 people died in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. Officials plan to complete the weeks-long project before the school's 3,300 students return in August from summer vacation.
Students, teachers, and victims' families are among those watching on June 14, 2024, as crews start the demolition of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people died in the 2018 mass shooting. Officials plan to complete the weeks-long project before students return from summer vacation.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
School & District Management Download 'Science of Reading' Learning Walks: 4 Things for Principals to Look For
An instructional guide for school leaders to help implement shifts in reading practices.
1 min read
Photograph of a Black male teacher in the classroom with clipboard observing elementary students.
E+
School & District Management Opinion 4 Things School Leaders Should Do Before Setting Priorities
Sweeping language doesn't offer a road map for the school community. Here's why.
Peter DeWitt & Michael Nelson
4 min read
Screenshot 2024 06 12 at 7.16.56 AM
Canva
School & District Management As Districts Weigh 4-Day Weeks, Research Overlooks Their Most Pressing Questions
A new, searchable dashboard will help district leaders explore research on four-day school weeks.
4 min read
Illustration of people around a very large flip calendar with Mon-Thursday highlighted in red squares. The concept of task planning. People are engaged in planning a calendar schedule.
iStock/Getty