At the heart of every educator is a student. Teachers and principals want opportunities to grow as professionals in ways that are relevant and that meet their needs, which are an extension of their students’ needs.
Educators point to a variety of ways in which they find professional development to be effectively delivered and many of these are often “opt-in” in nature, including attending professional conferences, participating in online peer-communities and reading professional books. Additionally, educators want to learn from each other and from experts in their field.
The leading reasons for their preferred form of professional development were to hear new ideas, relevance to their roles and flexibility.
Principals strongly believe that they need to be instructional leaders and that they are responsible for the culture of their school. Their desire for tailored professional development reflects this with a focus on leadership and developing a positive school culture, working with families, using data to inform instruction, and implementing formative assessments and new or revised curriculum.
Among teachers, there is a desire for professional development to help them with instruction on the specific subjects they teach, help them utilize the resources they have, and provide strategies to engage families and to meet the needs of individual students.
Virtually all teachers (96%) and principals (99%), across school poverty levels, grades taught, metro area and years of experience, say working with students gives them the most satisfaction.
Even as both teachers and principals cite the challenges within their roles, from barriers to learning, to the need for more partnerships with families and communities, educators overwhelmingly agree they have chosen a rewarding career.