People learn at different speeds. Guess what, teachers are also people. I have been talking about this a lot lately and I am not alone; teachers want differentiated PD. Especially when it comes to tech.
For some context, in Baltimore, I feel that there is a gap between teachers who do actively use tech and those who… won’t. There are a lot of reasons why the people who don’t use tech won’t. They don’t have equitable access, they don’t naturally adopt it or they might not see how it enhances their classroom practice.
It is easier to be against something if you can’t have it, than it is to want something you can't have.
On a systemic scale, the PD that is available can only cater to what technology initiatives a district can support. In turn, schools are only able to provide PD for things that they can support. Urban districts are cash strapped and pressed on by testing and attendance issues. We won’t even get into the time spent on Common Core roll out. And so we come down and down, more and more restricted, more and more limited in the scope of what we can access and accomplish.
This is a climate that puts innovation behind many other things out of a necessity to meet the minimum across the board. We can’t keep doing things like this. It isn't working. Some teachers are ready to move to the level of being innovative and are held back. Most who are savvy have found ways around the limits of their schools and districts, but that is not sustainable.
It is not sustainable always to be having to find ways to outwit the system.
There have to be equitable ways to serve teachers as learners. Schools are going to lose their best teaching talent if they can’t give them what they need and this is only going to make the gap larger between schools who are effective and those who are not.
What do we do about this? I am not exactly sure, but it can’t and doesn't need to be expensive. It just needs to be responsive and tiered. We need to know what skills teachers have and what skills they need to develop and, to be clear, I am not talking about classes and conferences attended. CV’s won’t cut it.
What skills does a teacher have with the tools they need to use to prepare students for the future?