Practice What You Teach
Teachers are also students and students are also teachers. Education isn’t just one way. In order to improve learning amongst students, educators must integrate their professional development into the curriculum they teach every day.
With a continuous focus on college and career prep benchmarks, students are being challenged in areas outside of the common core standards, which requires teachers to adapt to new instructional materials and teaching.
One of the main functions of our school system is to aid educators in becoming experts in their field so that they can instruct all students according to his or her need. Hence why it is imperative that certain systems are put in place that support teacher learning so they may help students advance their studies successfully.
By incorporating the school’s curriculum into professional learning, it gives educators an opportunity to focus more on cultivating their own skills through reflective leadership, as well as the ability to assess and evaluate the individual needs of their students on a much deeper level.
While many teachers are willing to adapt new strategies in order to benefit the educational advancement of their students, the issue lies in the reality that most schools are not focused on developing a culture where professional learning takes place.
Fostering professional development is important for so many reasons. While public schools have become more diverse, White teachers still make up the majority. According to a U.S. Department of Education report, less than 1 in 5 U.S. public school teachers—18 percent—are individuals of color, while approximately half—49 percent—of public elementary and secondary school students are individuals of color.
This alone necessitates a critical demand for teacher learning programs that not only improve the educator’s understanding of the school’s curriculum, but of the cultural, social, political and economic challenges and environments in which they work in as well. As teachers, principals, school administrators and the likes, we must become the student in order to fully grasp this notion. In doing so, we are also helping teachers shed some of their preconceived notions and biases.
Furthermore, research has shown that new teachers often leave inner-city schools because they feel inadequately prepared and supported for the environments they enter.
The ability to understand the culture and community of the school you teach in is the most effective way to establish an inclusive and productive learning environment in which students from all backgrounds can thrive. This begins with you. You’re never too old, or too smart, to stop learning.