Have you ever walked into a store and instantly recognized that the perfect gift for a friend. You think about how excited they will be when they see it and how you are sure that they have always wanted one just like it. You take it home, wrap it and deliver it with much anticipation and excitement. However, when they open it you see that they are not as excited as you thought they would be and that they even seem disappointed with what you had purchased. This is when “buyer’s remorse” slowly begins to seep in. Like that gift, many administrators are keen to jump on the latest and greatest trends when it comes to personalized development and leadership skills for their teachers. They hear about a professional development seminar or career development being offered and think that everyone should take it because it is cutting edge and brand new. However, not all training is created equal.
Purpose vs. product
Think about the last set of training that you attended. What was the goal? To develop a heightened understanding of training and development? To gain a fresh perspective on leadership training that would take your school district to the “next level”? The point is that we all wouldn’t want the same gift for our birthday. Just like not all teachers will respond to personalized development in the same way. As administrators we want to deliver career and professional development that we know will benefit our teachers in the most positive ways. However, like that gift what can read great and exciting on paper can result in flat and unmotivated professional development when delivered.
Find the common thread
So what is the solution? Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that will allow each instructor to receive that exact personalized or professional training they were seeking. However, thinking about development and leadership can be approached by thinking about what motivates our teachers. Offering personalized development is tough if you attempt to cater it to each individual teacher. Yet, if you look for curriculum that is unique but appealing to a large audience you should have an end product that is versatile and growing. Perhaps you have a group of teachers who want to learn how to be better leaders? Or how to develop a stronger understanding of how to connect with students in their care? The idea is that you will want to seek that one thread of motivation that the audience will share before seeking out the professional development.
Putting teachers first
We all grow through self-reflection and motivation but often, as administrators, we can become disconnected with what the teachers are dealing with every day in the classroom. Deciding on a professional development session or leadership training because it resonates with us does little to no good for those teachers who do not share that same passion or excitement. Professional development is a key in allowing our teachers to seek out new and exciting ways to grow both intrinsically and extrinsically as care givers and knowledge sharers around the world. However, think about them and their needs before deciding which package to purchase.
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