Opinion Blog

Classroom Q&A

With Larry Ferlazzo

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to lferlazzo@epe.org. Read more from this blog.

Teaching Opinion

Q&A Collections: Professional Development

By Larry Ferlazzo — August 19, 2021 15 min read
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During the summer, I am sharing thematic posts bringing together responses on similar topics from the past 10 years. You can see all those collections from the first nine years here.

Here are the ones I’ve published so far:

The 11 Most Popular Classroom Q&A Posts of the Year

Race & Racism in Schools

School Closures & the Coronavirus Crisis

Classroom-Management Advice

Best Ways to Begin the School Year

Best Ways to End the School Year

Student Motivation & Social-Emotional Learning

Implementing the Common Core

Challenging Normative Gender Culture in Education

Teaching Social Studies

Cooperative & Collaborative Learning

Using Tech With Students

Student Voices

Parent Engagement in Schools

Teaching English-Language Learners

Reading Instruction

Writing Instruction

Education Policy Issues


Differentiating Instruction

Math Instruction

Science Instruction

Advice for New Teachers

Author Interviews

Entering the Teaching Profession

The Inclusive Classroom

Learning & the Brain

Administrator Leadership

Teacher Leadership

Relationships in Schools

Today’s theme is on professional development. You can see the list of posts following this excerpt from one of them:


* Movies That Can Teach the Teachers

Four educators share movies or shows that have helped them become better, including the importance of nurturing students’ passions and lifting up student voice.

* Videos Teachers Can Learn From ...

Four educators share videos and movies that have helped them become better teachers, including “Remember the Titans” and “Winnie the Pooh.”

*Teachers ‘Need a Whole Board of Advisers’

Four teachers share recommendations about who they should turn to for advice, including students and colleagues they respect.

* The Best Sources of Classroom Advice Are ‘Teachers Who Are on the Ground Every Day’

Five educators share where they think teachers should look for helpful instructional advice.

* ‘A Professional Learning Community Is Not a Faculty, Grade Level, or Department Meeting’

Three educators wrap up a four-part series on professional learning communities.

* Promoting PLCs to Face the ‘Twin Epidemics’ of COVID-19 and Systemic Racism

Four educators discuss the practical aspects of professional learning communities.

* Professional Learning Communities Can ‘Unleash the Learning!’

Five educators share what has made professional learning communities work for them and their colleagues.

* 10 Strategies for Building a Professional Learning Community

Four educators share suggestions for how teachers can build online and in-person professional learning communities.

* Twenty-Eight Educators Share Their Best Teaching Advice

Twenty-eight—yup, count ‘em, 28—educators offer teaching advice that has helped them and their students.

* ‘Speak Up!’ & Even More Teaching Advice From Teachers

Six educators continue this series of sharing the best teaching advice they’ve heard or given, including being willing to take risks.

* ‘Keep It Simple’ & Other ‘Best’ Teaching Advice From Educators

Seven educators share the best teaching advice they’ve either given or received.

* ‘Stay Away From Negativity': Educators Share the Best Teaching Advice They’ve Received

Eight educators share the best teaching advice they’ve been given over the years.

* Teachers Share This Year’s Best Classroom Moments So Far

Many educators, including me, share their best classroom moments so far this year, including a Halloween costume unveiling and virtual visits from poets.

* Writing a Book Is a ‘Teacher’s Version of Climbing Mount Everest’

Six teacher-authors discuss what they learned over the past year and a half as they wrote books that are set to be published in the coming weeks.

* Editors Offer Suggestions to Teachers Who Want to Write a Book

Two editors explain what it takes for teachers to get published in the education realm, such as doing homework about the education book field and the publishers, knowing the audience, and focusing the topic.

* Advice for Teachers Who Want to Write a Book

Four educators share advice with active teachers who might want to write a book, including writing when you can, writing simply, and owning a passion for your subject.

* Instructional Coaching During the Coronavirus Crisis

Four educators discuss the role of instructional coaching during school closures, including the importance of staying connected and supporting teachers’ emotional health.

* Instructional Coaches Should ‘Center on a Strengths-Based Approach’

The five-part series on instructional coaching is “wrapped up” today by Cathery Yeh, Amy Sandvold, Tamara Hewlett, Becky Corr, and LaChawn Smith.

* Instructional-Coaching Conversations Must Be ‘Built on Relationships’

Today’s post includes answers from Kris Allen, Stephanie Affinito, Barry Saide, Diane Sweeney, Ann Mausbach, Jenny Grant Rankin, and Wendy Murawski, Ph.D., on how instructional coaches and teachers can best work as a team.

* ‘Instructional Coaching Can Be Frustrating at Times’

Lisa Westman, Debbie Silver, Carol Chanter, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Kristin Rouleau, and Keisha Rembert share their commentaries on effective instructional coaching.

* Instructional Coaching Must Not Lead to an ‘Us vs. Them’ Mentality

Laura Robb, Rita Platt, Michelle Shory, Ed.S., Irina V. McGrath, Ph.D., Cindi Rigsbee, Tonya Ward Singer, and Margie Kirstein contribute their suggestions about effective instructional coaching.

* ‘Effective Instructional Coaching Keeps Kids at the Center of the Work’

Sydney Chaffee, Cindy Garcia, Carrie Johnson, Roxanna Elden, Tatiana Esteban, Heather Register, Ashley Blackwelder, and Dawn Mitchell “kick off” a five-part series on instructional coaching.

* Students Can ‘Sense’ Teacher Frustration

Victoria Lentfer, Heather Stinson, and Mara Lee Grayson share their thoughts on how teachers’ can deal with feelings of frustration.

* Ways Teachers Can Handle Feeling Frustrated

Valerie Ruckes, Christine Hertz, Kristine Mraz, Maria Walther, and Kevin Parr offer their suggestions on how teachers can handle feelings of frustration.

* Laughter in the Classroom

Teachers describe some of the funniest moments in their classrooms over the years and, in some instances, how those moments improved classroom relationships.

* Show Me the Money! Ways Teachers Can Raise Funds for Their Classrooms

Suggestions on how teachers can raise private monies to support their classroom are offered by Alfonso Gonzalez, Holly Spinelli, Susan Lafond, Amanda Koonlaba, and Barbara Gottschalk.

* Looking for ‘Solutions’ in the Face of Staff Conflict

Greg Giglio, Jane Kise, David Bateman, Jenifer Cline, Tom Hoerr, and Jennifer Abrams contribute their suggestions for dealing with staff conflict.

* Don’t ‘Ignore’ Staff Conflict in Schools

Sanée Bell, Ed.D., Todd Franklin, Jenny Edwards, Julie P. Combs, Stacey Edmonson, Sandy Harris, and Amber Teamann discuss how to handle workplace conflict at schools.

* Too Many Professional-Development ‘Horror Stories’

This four-part series on professional development is wrapping up with responses from PJ Caposey, Laura Robb, Barbara Blackburn, Pete Hall, Fred Ende, Emily Phillips Galloway, Paola Uccelli, Nonie K. Lesaux, and Meredith Allen.

* Professional Development Does Not Need ‘One-Shot Wonders’

Nancy Fichtman Dana, Sally J. Zepeda, Jeffrey Wilhelm, James “Jimi” Cannon, Andrew Miller, Catherine Beck, Judy Bell, and Pia Lindquist Wong offer their suggestions about professional development.

* Improve Professional Development With ‘Choice, Debate, & Feedback’

Douglas Reeves, Jessica Torres, Melissa Eddington, Jared Covili, Daniel R. Venables, and Harry Fletcher-Wood share their ideas on improving professional development for educators.

* Do Professional Development ‘With’ Teachers, Not ‘to’ Them

Diana Laufenberg, Dina Strasser, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Debbie Silver, Rita Platt, and Melissa C. Gilbert share their critiques of current professional-development practices.

* Ways to Build Partnerships Between Teachers & Researchers

Ramon Goings, Lorena German, Sally Zepeda, Jenny Grant Rankin, David Bateman, Ph.D., and Jenifer Cline, M.S., discuss how researchers and educators can work together in better ways.

* Avoid Burnout by ‘Remembering What First Drove You Into Teaching’

Tabitha Pacheco, Amanda Koonlaba, Jenny Grant Rankin, Megan M. Allen, and Daniel Rechtschaffen finish up this three-part series on avoiding teacher burnout.

* Teacher Burnout Is ‘Contagious’

Jennifer Cleary, Emily Geltz, Patricia Jennings, Donna Wilson, Marcus Conyers, and Barbara Blackburn share their suggestions on preventing teacher burnout.

* Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout

Jenny Edwards, Ph.D., Wendi Pillars, Timothy Hilton, Mandi White, Tara Dale, and Owen Griffith share their suggestions on how teachers can avoid burning out on their jobs.

* So Many Articles, So Little Time ...

Jenny Edwards, Andrew Miller, Cynthia “Mama J” Johnson, Megan M. Allen, and readers share their choices for articles educators should read.

* A List of Articles for Educators to Read

Jessica Torres, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Robert Ward, Lisa Eickholdt, and Kathy Dyer contribute their suggestions of articles for educators to read.

* ‘Teaching Is Not a Job But a Way of Life’

Amber Chandler, Daniel R. Venables, Wendi Pillars, and comments from many readers finish up this three-part series on if educators have had second thoughts about their career choice.

* A Teacher’s ‘Pay Isn’t Great, But the Rewards Are Worth Everything’

Debbie, Silver, Julia G. Thompson, Jenny Edwards, Roberta Israeloff, George McDermott, and Kara Vandas contribute their responses to the question about if they ever had second thoughts about being a teacher.

* ‘I Love My Job’ as a Teacher

Shaeley Santiago, Anne Jenks, Sarah Thomas, Margarita Bianco, and Stephen Lazar talk about if they have had second thoughts about entering the teaching profession.

* Use ‘Compassion’ When Planning for a Substitute Teacher

Roxanna Elden, Rachael George, Rachel Trowbridge, Kevin Parr, Amy Sandvold, and William J. Tolley share their thoughts on how best to support—and prepare for—a substitute teacher.

* Teachers Recognize Those Who ‘Dive Into the Fray’ With Us

Today, Sarah Cooper, Meghan Everette, Amber Teamann, Bill Ivey, and Heather Wolpert-Gawron wrap up this series on key “influencers” of teachers. I also include responses from readers.

* How Students & Family Influence Our Teaching

Jeryl-Ann Asaro, Manuel Rustin, Brett Novick, Toby Karten, and Barbara Blackburn contribute their answers to the question: Who has most influenced your teaching?

* Educators Share Who Influenced Their Teaching

Rita Platt, Cynthia “Mama J” Johnson, Pernille Ripp, and Jenny Edwards share reflections on who has most influenced their teaching.

* Students Share Their Best School Experiences and What We Can Learn From Them

Five students contribute short pieces about their favorite classroom moments and what others might be able to learn from them.

* ‘Beautiful’ Moments in Teaching ‘Overshadow the Difficult Ones’

Meghan Everette, Jeryl-Ann Asaro, Jeffery Galle, and Kara Vandas share their best classroom memories.

* The Best Teaching Moment Was When ‘I Let Go’

Jen Schwanke, Anne Jenks, Amy Sandvold, and Sarah Thomas share their top moments in teaching.

* ‘It’s an Exciting Time to Be an Educator’

Donna Wilson, Marcus Conyers, Rachael George, Meghan Everette, and Carolina Pérez offer their nominations for the most exciting developments in education today.

* The Most Exciting Things Happening in Education Are ...

Tricia Hyun, Sarah Thomas, former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., Mandi White, and Tara Dale share their commentaries on the most exciting things happening in education today.

* Teaching Advice to Remember, Part Three

Amanda Koonlaba, Amelia Gamel, Jenny Edwards, Paul Barnwell, Jackie Walsh, and Beth Sattes discuss the “best” teaching advice, and I also include many comments from readers.

* The Best Teaching Advice, Part Two

Roxanna Elden, Esther Wu, Timothy D. Walker, Vance Austin, and Kirke Olson share reflections on the best teaching advice they’ve received.

* The Best Teaching Advice Is ...

Rita Platt, Fred Ende, Arpine Ovsepyan, Rachael George, and Cindi Rigsbee contribute the best teaching advice they have heard.

* Teaching Can Be Tough, But We’re ‘Lucky’

Jen Schwanke, Amanda Koonlaba, Jennifer Orr, Allison Rodman, Patricia (Tish) Jennings, Bill Ivey, and Peter P. Leibman contribute their thoughts on responding to tough teaching moments.

* ‘The Toughest Part of Teaching Is ...’

Roxanna Elden, Robert Ward, Cindi Rigsbee, Megan Allen, Jenny Grant Rankin, Daniel Jerome, and Lois Weiner share how they respond to tough teaching moments.

* Challenging Moments in Teaching

Megan Allen, Jenny Grant Rankin, Linda L. Lyman, and Wendi Pillars share their stories of difficult teaching moments.

* Make Teaching Failures ‘Moments to Grow’

Laura Robb, Jim Bentley, N. Chaunte Garrett, Jennifer Orr, and Jonathan Eckert contribute commentaries about their most difficult teaching experiences.

* Learning From Difficult Teaching Moments

Lorena Germán, Tom Rademacher, Diana Laufenberg, Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, and Jeff Bradbury share their stories of difficult teaching moments and what they learned from them.

* What Teachers Wish They ‘Had Been Told’

Allison Marchetti, Rebekah O’Dell, Kathy Levy, Matthew R. Morris, Stuart O. Yager, Rita Platt, and Larnette Snow finish off a three-part series on what teachers know now that they wish they knew then.

* ‘When I Started Teaching, I Wish I Had Known ...’

Linda Hoyt, Jenny Edwards, Mary Tedrow, and Vance L. Austin offer their suggestions about what they know now that they wish they had known then.

* What Educators Wish They Knew When They Began Teaching

Roxanna Elden, Dave Stuart Jr., Julia Thompson, and Jennifer Gonzalez share what they wish they had known prior to becoming a teacher.

* Colleges of Ed. Can Make ‘Lifetime Commitments’ to Working Teachers

Benjamin Riley, Charis Anderson, Pia L Wong, Megan Allen, Mike Flynn, and Jack Schneider share their ideas on how colleges of education can support working K-12 teachers.

* Our Teaching Mistakes & What We Learn From Them

Today, Roxanna Elden, Julia Thompson, Ekuwah Moses, Jenny Edwards, Kevin Parr, and Leslie Blauman bare their souls to the world as they write about their biggest teaching mistakes.

* Making Mistakes & Learning From Them—Part Two

Today’s post includes responses from PJ Caposey, Jennifer Gonzalez, Arpine Ovsepyan, Marcy Webb, Marie Levey-Pabst, Vance L. Austin, and Steven Anderson. I’ve also included comments from readers.

* Focusing ‘More on What Goes Right Than on What Goes Wrong’

Rebecca Mieliwocki, Allen Mendler, Jennifer Orr, Mike Anderson, and Daniel Rechtschaffen contribute their suggestions on how teachers can maintain a sane balance between classroom and home life.

* Ways to Find the ‘Right Balance’ Between School & Home

Educators Renee Moore, Debbie Silver, Julia Thompson, and Vicki Davis provide us all with some advice on balancing teaching with a personal life.

* Teachers ‘Seek Relevance & Choice’ in Professional Development

This post includes responses from Roxanna Elden, Sally J. Zepeda, Christopher Lehman, Jennifer Abrams, PJ Caposey, Patricia Reynolds, and Sharon Milano. In addition, I’ve highlighted comments from readers. All make suggestions about how to make professional development more effective learning experiences.

* Follow-Up Is Critical for Successful Professional Development

This post shares commentaries on how to improve teacher professional development from educators Sean McComb, Robyn R. Jackson, Kelly Young, Paul Cancellieri, Jason Flom, and Barbara Blackburn.

* The Kind of Professional Development We Need—Part Two

Rick Wormeli continues sharing his professional-development recommendations in Part Two of his essay.

* The Kind of Professional Development We Need

Rick Wormeli shares his suggestions for how to make professional development effective for teachers.

* ‘Write the Book You Wish You Had on Your Bookshelf’

This final post in a series on teachers writing books shares advice from Kimberly Carraway, Erik Palmer, Jeffrey Benson, and Cathie E. West. In addition, I share a few comments from readers.

* ‘Teachers Make Great Authors’

Allison Scott, Julia Thompson, and Vicki Davis share suggestions for teachers who would like to write a book and get it published. This is the second post in a three-part series.

* Educators Wanting to Write a Book ‘Must Go for It!’

Marjorie McAneny, Alan Sitomer, PJ Caposey, and Steven Anderson share their suggestions for educators who want to write a book.

* Part Three—Book Recommendations for Teachers

This post is the final one in this series and features book recommendations from Grant Wiggins, John Norton, Barbara Blackburn, Amy Benjamin, and Kevin Washburn, plus a zillion reader comments.

* More Book Recommendations for Teachers

Educators Megan Allen, Erin Klein, Jeffrey Zoul, and Mike Fisher share their book recommendations for teachers in Part Two in a series.

* Book Recommendations for Teachers—Part One

In Part One of this three-part series, education writer and parent Melinda D. Anderson shares her book recommendations for teachers, as do educator/authors Kelly Gallagher, Cathy Vatterott, and Vicki Davis.

* More Advice on Teacher Attire

In this last post of a two-part series, educator Robyn R. Jackson shares her thoughts—particularly for women educators. I’m also publishing comments from many, many readers.

* Teachers Should Dress as Students’ Advocate, Not ‘Peer’

In Part One of a two-part series, four educators—Roxanna Elden, Renee Moore, Jane Fung, and Rebecca Mieliwocki—share their thoughts on how teachers should dress.

* Using ‘Self-Compassion’ to Recover From a Bad Day

In addition to sharing many comments from readers, educators Amy Benjamin and Dina Strasser post their thoughts in this post.

* A Bad Day in the Classroom ‘Will Pass’

This post includes contributions from Terry Thompson, Renee Moore, and Cindi Rigsbee.

* Recover From Bad Days by Seeing ‘Disasters as Opportunities’

This column has quite a lineup, starting with Roxanna Elden, who is one of the most engaging and entertaining education writers around. Her contribution is followed by guest responses from two other exceptional educators and authors—Allen Mendler and Julia Thompson.

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The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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