Like all of you, North Carolinians are faced with significant budget shortfalls. Our state and local leaders are doing their absolute best to balance the budget while not significantly impacting the classroom. Part of the budget cuts being discussed across the state focuses upon eliminating costs that do not directly impact the classroom. Professional development is one of those that is a fairly common cut. Professional development is used in many ways; among them including to sharpen and upgrade skills, provide crucial training for new initiatives, develop and deepen the talent, renew licensure/credentialing, and to revitalize and renew the passion of teachers and school leaders. Yet, if the stark choice is eliminating professional development for a year to save teaching positions, it is an easy call. Save the teaching position.
I don't think there is any way around it-we have to find ways other than simply conferences and face to face workshops and seminars to keep teachers excited about the teaching and learning process in these chaotic times. It is also critical that we find ways for school executives and leaders to renew themselves as well. This is even more crucial now. A colleague, Ben Rosen, was quoted in the local paper that an important tool is to find more ways to tell workers about changes inside and outside the organization. As Ben notes, "Insecurity is such a killer of morale. It's important ...to give employees timely and complete information. The more uncertain times are, the more rumors pop up."
I'm posing my question for this post as a way for us collectively to find ways to keep teachers (and school leaders) excited about what we do and how we help make a difference to the young people to whom parents have entrusted their children. How are you keeping your teachers and yourselves excited and focused upon teaching and learning OR supporting those whose focus is teaching, learning, and student success?