Sunday, November 14, 2010

If it's important

Suppose you believe the research that the most significant influence on student learning is the teacher? How do you ensure that teachers are supported, continually learning, sharing and deepening their practice, regularly consulting each other when they have a challenge, and staying current with new research, new curriculum and new tools for learning?

If the answer is - we expect them to find their own learning network, join after school workshops or meetings, and attend relevant professional development during the five allotted days during the year - it's not enough. It's not just-in-time, it's not deeply connected to the students they have in their classroom or to the school they are working in, and it demands that the teacher, rather than focus on their students, use precious time to find people to learn with. And it doesn't take into account the life of the teacher. As a mother of five, I attended a minimum of after school meetings. Instead, I went home, picked up children, took them to after school events, listened to their stories, fed them snacks, made dinner, played games, read to them and then - after the last of them was tucked into bed or quietly engaged in an evening activity - I marked, planned, or if I had any energy left, read professional articles. I have colleagues, bless them, who are busy with other kids after school - drama, football, student council, basketball, volleyball, dance. Do we stop providing these services that connect our students to the school community, foster leadership, citizenship and a sense of belonging?

If our answer to professional learning and collaboration is to organize more after school meetings, we are providing opportunities for some teachers. We need an answer for every teacher if we want success for each child. How? Schools in SD68 are doing it! If it's important, we'll learn together to find a way.

First stop: Seaview Elementary

No comments:

Post a Comment