Is Your PD Teacher-Centered?

Is Your PD Teacher-Centered?​

It’s important for your professional development (PD) to be Teacher-Centered so that you can get the most out of it. You need to take charge of your learning and in turn inspire your students. Here, I share 5 questions you can ask to see if the learning you are doing is the best kind for YOU.

Read The Transcript

Everyone talks about being student-centered, but when it comes to your professional development, it needs to be Teacher-Centered!


Teacher-centered PD is vital to what you do as a teacher and I’m going to walk you through 5 questions so you will be able to tell if the PD you are signing up for is in fact build just for teachers like you.


My name is Elizabeth Peterson. I’m the host of The Inspired Classroom and when I build workshops, courses and retreats, I always make sure they are Teacher-Centered.  


Why? Because it goes along with our motto that you have to Get Inspired in order to Be Inspiring to your students.


Notice I said GET Inspired?  Is an action you have to take. It’s something YOU really have to do. It’s not a passive thing where you sit and hope the presenter is going to say something inspiring.  


Instead, you need to take charge, search around for what is going to be a good fit for you and GET in there.


And you can start with us here at The Inspired Classroom by checking out the Virtual Teacher Art Retreat.  There you will find the answer to all the questions I’m about to ask is a roaring YES!

For years, I’ve attended professional development that involves sitting in a chair and being talked to. Can you relate? And while the content of the workshop or conference may have been good, even great, it was just uninspiring.

I mean, I would take notes, maybe have a few good conversations with colleagues. I’d even be smiling because I was wearing jeans.

But when I got back to the classroom, the notes would go on a shelf and ultimately becomes something to forget.


Let’s not do that anymore.  Take a look at these questions.


First and foremost, ask: Am I valued as a Professional?


Have you ever attended PD where you’ve actually felt talked down to? Or maybe been shown or instructed in content that was just not relevant or odd or just a waste of your time?


When PD is Teacher-Centered, there is no talking down, there is just sharing of great ideas. And you are treated like a professional.  


Maybe you are asked to give your opinion and share in a discussion. Maybe you are asked to share your thoughts, insights and ideas with other educators in the room. Let’s face it the presenter isn’t all-knowing. We all come to the table with experience and insights. And while we are learning from the leader, we too should feel respected for what we do.


Along these lines, you might also ask this question:  Will I be treated special?


Now I would never expect someone to roll out the red carpet for me at some PD. This being said, transforming a ballroom into a welcoming, beach-themed retreat area is right up my alley.


So, think about it. Do you get folders? Quality hand-outs? Refreshments? And, if it’s an all-day face-to-face workshop, do you get lunch? These are the small things that go a long way.


For example at the Virtual Teacher Art Retreat we are going to have bonuses and prizes. Why? Because it’s fun and I want all the Retreaters to feel special.  


We deserve it. YOU deserve it!


Next question: Are the ideas you are going to get ones that you can actually use?


Getting your hands on quality ideas are essential when you invest money and time into your PD. I always want to make sure the ideas we offer through The Inspired Classroom are practical and meaningful. Some should be ones you can use right away, while others may be more involved but they are certainly worth it.


So a related question would be this 4th one, “Are educators teaching the ideas?”

I think the best PD is that which comes from other teachers – colleagues who KNOW what it means to be an educator with all its pressure and constraints. 

Now, this might be a current teacher or a retired one, but it really needs to be one that has walked the walk and knows the talk… and everything else that goes with being a professional teacher.


The fifth and final question you should ask to check if your PD is Teacher-Centered is this: Does the professional development proved TIME for participants to try the ideas out? 


Time seems to be our most precious of commodities and when you are given time to dig into the content you are learning, you are way more likely to use it in your classroom. Remember our motto? You need to Get Inspired in order to Be Inspiring?

Part of getting inspired is doing the work yourself, creating the project, working through obstacles and coming out on the other side excited to try the ideas with your own students. 


Don’t settle for just any professional development,  and there is a LOT out there.


Search around for Teacher-Centered PD that is going to inspire you: value you as a professional, treat you special, give you ideas you can actually use, be taught by people who know what it means to be a teacher and provides you with time to dig into the content you are learning. 


Now, I want you to check out the link below where you will see what Teacher-Centered PD really looks like.  Whether you end up finding one of our face-to-face retreats, our upcoming Virtual Teacher Art Retreat or our signature course, SEAL Teacher Training, you will find that we sing a resounding YES to all these questions.


Definitely go check those out.


My name’s Elizabeth Peterson.

I’m sending you all my best.

Take care of yourself.


Join our amazing FB community: Inspiring Teachers!  Share ideas, ask questions and get support from colleagues around the globe who believe in the power of arts in education! 

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