Many have said that teachers are the worst audience for inservice presentations, professional development, and other activities related to continuing education. Until I flipped to the dark side and began to plan and present at teacher institute days and offer continuing education credits, I didn’t realize how necessary it was to make things more exciting, vibrant, and enticing for the teachers.
Here are the top ways we shake up teacher institute days:
- Activate. Teachers, like students, need to be hands-on, get up and move, and engaged in the session. Thus, the sessions need to be active with multiple segments
- Incentivize. Everyone enjoys receiving a reward for his/her contribution to a discussion, asking a poignant question, or furthering the discussion. Hence, we bring a bag of giveaways to reward those contributors.
- Individualize. All members of the group need to feel as though they will receive a beneficial outcome from the professional development. We do research on who will be in attendance so that the session can be tailored to all participants.
- Talk With, Not At. Teachers know when someone is talking with them and exchanging in dialogue vs. talking at them and telling them how to do their job. They are the subject matter expert, they know the students in the classroom with them, they are the experts. Professional development should help teachers think about their instruction a little differently to best augment or support the successes they already have!