As I dropped my daughter off at the high school this morning for her last few days of band camp, we both noticed that the parking lot was full. "First day for teachers," she said. "I wonder what they're discussing," I thought. Those first days of school truly bring excitement. Teachers and students are rested and ready to learn; more than any other time of the school year.
I used to live in a home that had a field beyond our backyard that was managed by a farmer. Prior to the field being used to harvest feed corn, for years, it was a home for about 30 cows. Each Spring, the farmer tended to the field by running (in the middle of the night) some sort of large piece of machinery over the field in order to turn the soil. You can imagine how intriguing this was to the senses when we would wake up the next morning!
He readied the field in order to plant his crops several times throughout the planting season. His crops always thrived; and every year we lived there, he would spend an entire night, each time he started a new crop, turning the soil and then planting a day or so later. Ongoing...tilling, planting, harvesting, tilling, planting, harvesting...so his crops would grow and never fail.
Our teachers are now sitting through several days of professional learning. Are they being intrigued, challenged, and motivated by what they hear? Is the professional learning relevant to their needs? Is it being delivered in a manner that leads to ongoing professional conversations that will occur throughout the year? Are the teachers being tended to so their learning will grow and ultimately allow every student to achieve? Is the system supportive of maintaining the growth process of all teachers, taking into account each teacher's needs and years of experience?
What are your thoughts? Are you experiencing high quality professional learning? Are you delivering high quality professional learning? Will our system grow or fail?
Dr. Frances A. Miller,