Friday, March 9, 2012

Job-Embedded PD: To Sleep, or Not to Sleep...

Deia Sanders is a particularly dedicated master teacher and instructional coach. She supports teachers and students at a rural, Title I school in Mississippi with over 90% of students living below the poverty line. 

Mrs. Sanders shares one experience that demonstrates a simple yet dramatic way that job-embedded professional development for teachers can be applied to the classroom.  

She is a mother of two girls--Nyla, 3, and Piper, 18 months.

So many times we bring in speakers and trainers, and travel far and wide to hear and receive the best professional development for our needs. Then we return from the trip, head back to our classrooms with the best intentions of implementation, but in the end we can’t find time to fit in something new, bury the materials under papers,  or fail to fully implement the full realm of training we just received… either way, we aren’t getting our money’s (and time) worth.
Deia Sanders discusses how to apply job-embedded professional development for teachers to the classroom
Mendenhall Jr. High choir receives Superior rating.

It Has to Apply to the Teacher First

The key to fully implementing professional development trainings is follow-up. And so many times this is nearly impossible simply due to the time and money invested in the initial round of training. And we know time and money are not things educators have a lot of.  Because of this, there has been a move for more schools to implement instructional coaches—a person whose goal is to train and then implement and coach side by side with a teacher on an on-going basis the strategies and best practices.  This has been an exciting and wonderful shift in our PD for both me and my staff. 

Drool Spill Clean-Up, Aisle 3...

But what job-embedded professional development for teachers look like? It changes every day and with every teacher, but here is what it looked like one day:

Earlier in the year I was working with a new teacher. We had decided to video her class and review her teaching because the students were telling her they were “bored to death.”  As I sat and watched the class, it almost appeared as if there was a carbon monoxide leak. The students’ heads were dropping one by one on their desks quickly followed by closed eyes and then the rumble of snores. The teacher asked me a question, and without even thinking I changed from coach to teacher-mode and began moving around the room and discussing the topic with the students. All of their little heads popped up and they began to discuss, share, and get excited about the lesson. As soon as I sat down and the teacher went back to lecturing and once again her audience hit the proverbial snooze.

When the teacher reviewed her lesson she was filled with excitement.  Although she was disappointed in her presentation, she was enthusiastic to see the shift in her students’ motivation when the class turned from lecture to discussion, and the simple change from standing at the front to “working the room.” We were able to pinpoint simple techniques that we could focus on to add engagement to her classroom.

PD Isn't Just About Teachers

We didn’t have to spend money or remove her from her students for a training that may or may not meet her needs. We were able to set personalized goals to meet her where she was both physically and professionally and move her step by step to the next level of performance. 

Not only is it huge for our teachers, but it’s an enormous benefit to our students as well, because we no longer have to remove their teachers to train them.  Because job-embedded PD is ongoing and catered to the individual needs of the teachers, we are seeing teachers move to more effective classrooms faster than before.  Our students are now getting lessons worth waking up for!  In an age of differentiated instruction, it’s almost amusing that it took so long to actually do that with professional development and our educators. 


  1. Mrs. Sanders, thank you for sharing this excellent article. A former school principal at a Detroit school with a 96% poverty level, I am in total agreement with you on this issue of job-embedded professional development.

    I was a national service-learning consultant to school districts across the country. Service-learning is a teaching and learning approach that connects the curriculum with meeting community needs. Those districts that hired someone at the local level to follow up and support teachers with implementing service-learning in their classrooms eventually saw it develop in many schools. Some districts continue to implement service-learning in all K-12 schools.

    Although my own school was a national model for schoolwide service-learning, and I inserviced many local schools, the school district did not hire anyone at the district level to support ongoing local school implementation. Service-learning never thrived there.

    While service-learnning can be used to improve many community concerns, this is an example of service-learning implementation at a nursing home:

    Mrs. Sanders, I wish you continued success in all you are doing to support staff and students. As you sated in your article, "It has to apply to the teacher first."

    Frances Shani Parker

  2. Well, it’s great that there is an opportunity for a teacher to be with her students all the time with no need to leave them for training. Actually, being a teacher is a huge responsibility especially when you work with kids living below the poverty line. However, most of them are eager for knowledge and study really hard because they want to have a better life in the future and they are highly motivated for that. I hope that in the future all of them will be able to get good jobs, if they will use source to order IT resume that finding a job will not be a problem at all!

  3. It is unfortunate that some students can not get a normal education because of poverty. And as a professional teacher undertakes to teach for these children, it's really a miracle! It gives them the opportunity to receive an excellent education, then get a good job. These teachers deserve respect! But when the they begins after graduation to look for work they have problems with the correct spelling resume. Some try to write it yourself. But, not all can do it right. And they turn for help to special resource. They receives proper advice and the opportunity to resume writing, which will in the future find a good job.

  4. Excellent article, I liked your style of writing this text. You know, I know quite a lot of teachers who have problems with employment, because the salary is too low. They even have already started to look for work in other areas, after they have slightly corrected their resume using services of the best cv writing service reviews. I hope they will find the new job soon.

  5. Yeah, I really understand you, cause when I have studied at school I had one teacher who was so boring that my eyes closed every 5 minutes. But then hopefully our principal had changed our teacher for another, who was very intresting and funny person. He recommended me this service in case if I have trouble with courseworks.