If you want good results, then you need to make the proper investments. These investments can be in the form of you placing your time and energy into a project. It can also be a simple cash injection into a project or activity. However, sometimes, it’s about investing in people. We are talking here, of course, about your staff.
If a regular company would invest in its employees if it would work towards their advancement and education in order to have said employees achieve great results, why would a school be any different? Of course, the actual educational materials and opportunities you as a school manager have to offer will differ. It’s not the same if you’re training a first-grade teacher and an oil rig foreman.
4 Ways to make sure the teachers in your school are properly trained
However, the basic principles are the same. Below you can find some basic rules on how to ensure your teacher body stays on top of industry standards and advance in their professional development journey continuously.
Have some structure
If you want to get results, there needs to be clear, concrete results and goals you want to achieve. Remember that people can’t really be forced to effectively learn. So, your educational initiative needs to have goals, but it also needs to possess structure. You can’t just throw it various seminars and educational summits without an afterthought. You need to decide what you want to focus on, and then let your teachers know what are your plans.
Furthermore, you want them all to keep their joy of teaching all the time. This will be hard to do if they are already overworked (as all teachers usually are) — if you pile more work (in the form of seminars) on them they might be reluctant to participate in any training session. So they need to have a clear idea of how this will benefit them. Likewise, you need to make sure that they will actually do it in an effective manner.
Think about logistics
Now, we’ve already mentioned that your teachers are most likely hard working people. If you want them to become better at their jobs, you need to make any educational initiative as easy as possible to them. The primary thing to take into account here is logistics and support.
Namely, you don’t want your staff to work any harder than they need to when their added education is concerned. Learning should be an organic and willed process, and a person who needs to pay out of pocket for transportation and study materials necessary for their own workspace won’t be the happiest of campers.
So, here are some of the things you should do. First, give them the right materials, provide the right training resources – or RTO learning resources, as these are known in Australia – and get all the learning devices they need (within reason). Then, always pay for any travel expenses if you’re sending them to a seminar. This should include not only transportation costs, but also food and lodging.
Feedback and open communication are crucial
You want to consistently communicate with your teaching staff during this educational processes. You should get — and give — honest feedback on how the entire situation is going. The teachers that work for you will definitely have input of their own. They can give you advice on what they need, what to focus on and how to change things up. Furthermore, they can let you know whether they need more materials of a certain kind and less of another. The point here is honest and open communication.
You should at all times lend an ear to your people, always let them know that their voice will be heard when they have something to say. Furthermore, leave them some wiggle room, be flexible. You want to actually implement these changes after all.
However, you also want to perform evaluations, and send them some feedback yourself (or forward feedback from trainers). An effective professional development program for teachers is one that actually sticks.
Try out different methodologies and varied content
Trying out differing methodologies can give you great results. Not everybody responds in the same way to the same methods and style of training. Try to provide your teachers with a variety of educational content, in different ways.
For example, you might want to expose them to different systems of teaching. Perhaps experiment with a more structured Montessori system or try out something more techy. Educators today need to get used to the newest technology and devices.
The way they should be taught should also differ. Maybe you have a group of teachers who prefer learning from guides and books. Others, perhaps, want a more hands-on approach. All of them will know how they learn best and what they need in order to do that, so always keep their feedback in mind.
The teachers in your school are your greatest asset, they reflect your educational organization. They are an extension of your work, they reflect how much you invested in them. And if you want to actually have all the necessary education and training stick, you need to experiment a bit. Try out different content and methods, but keep the whole system structured, with clear goals. Respect their boundaries, and provide them with support. Finally, keep all lines of communication open and be ready to receive and give feedback.
NEO Brochure: Using NEO for professional development for teachers