I have found the essential way to support staff to continue to grow, offer them precisely what they want. Why would we continue to do our professional development in the same way we tell our staff they should not teach in the classroom? We need to differentiate!
Jim Knight is an expert! The article he has written for the edition in Educational Leadership is a great one to utilize as you plan your professional development. It also provides you with an understanding of the implementation stages for staff.
Change takes time, and we all know from our experiences it can be met with challenges, unforeseen issues, a little craziness, and then all of a sudden, things start moving in the right direction. Well, sometimes.
One of Knight’s points is people are hesitant to make a change because they do not think it will make a difference with “their” students. He hits this precisely right! I have heard these words for many years. “Sure that looks great but it won’t work in my classroom.” “I would like to see him do that with my students!”
As the Director of Educational Support, my team wanted to improve our writing and overall language arts programs K-12. We worked to coordinate the training so teachers would have it simultaneously, and it was tailored to what was needed.
Understanding all of the needs for an effective writing roll out I needed to work with my team to plan this out accordingly. So I handpicked a group to attend a workshop of the lady I wanted to present to our district. I selected the presenter because of several reasons. They included her energy, enthusiastic approach, her background and overall ability to make the transition we needed! Her name is Kristina Smekens http://www.smekenseducation.com
The group went to her workshop and began texting me from the conference. They were sold! We invited her in and we worked together to make the time exactly what staff needed. As the individual in charge and being nicknamed Hallmark, you know my inner Oprah came out! We worked with Kristina to find where she would have a break in her training and something the staff would need to apply in their classroom. So when she finished demonstrating for staff she would pause and say….everyone gets one. Then we would walk around to give each staff member what they needed to take back to the classroom to implement immediately.
Now, as you read in the article, staff need to know it works with their students. So as a follow-up, we invited Kristina to come in and do a model lesson in a classroom. We would hire floating subs so teachers could watch and then debrief. Then we would have staff create a lesson, draw names, and one person would teach the lesson in someone’s classroom, and they would assess the lesson. We utilized floating subs again to support the learning. We repeated this process until the teaching teams felt confident. They loved the way we made this approach to a new initiative.
I recommend Smekens to your school! It will be one of the best professional development you can provide for staff. Jim Knight is an expert, and he gives you so much knowledge and expertise to guide you through your leadership.